Tag Archives: warmth

Zooming In: Reflecting on One Little Word

Early in 2014 I decided that the word “play” would be my One Little Word (OLW) for the year…my muse, reminding me to make time to play and to plan for fun in my life and in my work. And I have loved my word.

And play I have.  I have spent an extraordinary amount of time at the beach this year and learned to see it in ways I wouldn’t have considered possible.  Photography has helped me play this year, encouraging my exploration, taking me outdoors, making me more observant, stoking my curiosity.

I mentioned the new camera in my life in this post, a Sony a6000, and with a new zoom lens, we set out for the beach yesterday.  Don’t get me wrong, I still love my iPhone and have gotten quite comfortable with its photographic capabilities over the last couple of years.  So heading out with our new camera is a challenge.  So each trip feels like a playground filled with unfamiliar equipment.  I’m still mostly in the automatic mode, and with the zoom lens, trying to figure out the boundaries of focus…what is too close, what is too far, how to get a crisp image…

So zooming in, here’s a seagull in the light.

gull in light

I like the way the background is blurred while the one bird is crisp in the foreground.  And you can almost feel the warmth of the sun in this shot.

This guy, in contrast, is silhouetted against the water.  I like that you can see that he is wading in the surf, you can even see where his foot is displacing the water.

seagull silhouette

I was also playing around with action.  This particular camera is known for its quick focus, allowing me to focus and capture motion that I might otherwise miss.  I caught this gull gliding right into the edge of my frame as I looked out toward the horizon.

gull gliding

And this surfer almost surfed his way into my line of sight.  I love the energy of the shot even though he didn’t quite make it all the way into the frame.

surfing action

The last few days when I have been at the beach I have noticed seagulls flocking, gathering and swooping through the air.  Through my lens yesterday I was able to capture some of that energy and the numbers of gulls.

birds

And in contrast to all of this energy, I also captured this moment of solitude as I zoomed in on this hiker with a full pack pausing to notice something in the rocks.  I’m not sure where he came from or where he was going, it is not usual to see backpackers on the beach.

solitude

There’s so much that I see when I am out taking photos that I am not able to capture in my digital images.  As the sun was setting last night, I was able to watch gray whales frolicking offshore as they migrated south.  We could see the spray from the blowholes in the distance as they surfaced and then the dark of their bodies as they breached, leaping up out of the water. It was like they also were inspired by my one little word!

And the sunset was beautiful in oranges and reds as the bird flew through.  (All of the photos in this post are unedited.)

colorful sunset

I’m still contemplating my word for 2015, searching for one that will inspire me all year.  I’m looking for a word that is active, encouraging exploration and possibility and that will work in both my personal and work life.  I’m open to suggestions if something occurs to you!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Winter Warmth

I’ve been looking longingly at all the winter snow photos this last week or so–those gorgeous scenes of glistening whiteness.  I can imagine the hush and the magical quality only snow can bring.  (I know, there is always a downside…the cold, the shoveling, the need to bundle to go outdoors…)

Winter, in these parts means no snow…ever.  Some will quickly contradict me and recount the snowfall of ’68 or the one in ’96.  But honestly, a few rogue snowflakes that melt upon contact don’t really count as a snowfall, they were just teasers of what might be…

So, for me, winter comes in distinctive San Diego style.  Most Christmases are sunny and reasonably warm.  Temperatures in the 60s are usual during the day…it cools off quickly when the sun sets.  On the first day of winter, I caught this glimpse of the warmth in a black and white reflection of the sun on the beach at low tide.

sun reflection in black and white

And at sunset, a little further up the road, I caught the warmth of the sun behind the pelicans as they soared along the air currents before darkness enveloped this longest night.

sunset with 3 pelicansAnd I got a new camera for Christmas, actually my husband and I got it for each other, after years of taking all of my photos with my iPhone.  (The two photos above were taken with my iPhone.)  So today, we headed out to experiment with this new toy.  Of course the beach is one of my favorite places to go for photo inspiration.  Because it was high tide, we didn’t get to walk the beach, but I did catch this seagull in flight.  I love the brilliant blues of the unedited shot–you can see a glimpse of the warmth of the sun on the wings of the bird.

seagull in flight

And playing around as I was climbing back up the wooden stairway access to the beach, I happened to catch my husband in a game of peekaboo as I snapped a shot looking up toward the warmth of the sun through the wooden structure.

peekabooUsing the macro end of the zoom lens, I took some shots of flowers I found near the beach.  I love the way this daisy glows in the warmth of the sun.  The play of sun and shadow seems just right with these colors.

daisy

And my husband pointed out yesterday that he managed to keep one of the potted poinsettias we bought last year alive all year…and sure enough, there it was, still in the pot in our backyard with its bracts turning red!  Poinsettias grow well here–in fact, Encinitas is known for the Ecke Poinsettias that produce the majority of poinsettias that are sold each year.  We’re always planning to to plant them in the yard after the holidays…maybe this year, after this success, we will!  I grew up not far from here with a large poinsettia plant in our backyard that grew as tall as our garage before my mom hacked them back down each year after the blooming season.

poinsettia in the wild

So this week I am borrowing the weekly photo challenge prompt from the Daily Post and inviting folks at the NWP iAnthology and and those who follow my blog to share their images of winter warmth.

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

Where do you find the warmth in the winter?  On the glistening of sunshine on snow?  The crackling warmth of a roaring fire?  Hands cupped around a warm mug of coffee?  A hug of a loved one?  Go out and snap those images of winter warmth…can’t wait to see the warmth through your lens!