"Ain't nothin' but a hounddog..." as seen in the late afternoon's shadows on a drive through Labelle, FL. They look so lonely though there are four of them and the conditions appear crowded.
Sunday, January 30, 2011
Ran into a pair of pelicans fishing for breakfast amongst the gently breaking waves - this shot shows the 'after gulp' content. Check out the up and not quite over shots - what a comical couple of birds!
Multi-tasking has become a way of life and today was no exception for me. Fortunately, part of it included some connected learning via virtual sessions at educon23.org/ EduCon 2.3 and a smiling moment capturing a much more singularly focused 'life at the beach'. Just a few more to do's and then the week begins anew. 5th Ave N & Gulf of Mexico, Naples, FL
Saturday, January 29, 2011
Wahoo! Another couple of "Race for the Paws" participants cross the finish line! :) The Humane Society Naples sponsored 5K is always a favorite, as the dogs get to run as well! This was my third year - every year I run more than walk, so that's an annual challenge for which to prepare. This year I only walked about 1/4 mile - look forward to seeing the post times.
Most here view the race as a community event for bringing awareness to a great organization. There are those who truly compete - though it appears that the majority of those are really trying to 'best' their own times rather beat out others. Competition usually infers winners and losers...and as much as 'survival of the fittest' does dictate that to a certain degree, I prefer to see success gauged on an ever-lengthening continuum with an emphasis on an internal focus. The continuous improvement cycle and lifelong learning process both fit nicely with that extended and personalized definition since 'winning' ultimately is not an 'end all'! Aviation Dr & Airport-Pulling Road, Naples, FL
Friday, January 28, 2011
The naked branches of this poinciana tree took center stage today against the sky blue intensity - stark and yet, warming to me. Sculpture-like, the branches resemble outstretched arms and hands reaching upward. Rather than a 'hand-out' though, these are just seeking a little 'boost' to achieve their goal. So...perhaps my imagination runs wild, but it is through such a process that some (and much more) creative thinking can evolve.
Interestingly, while composing this, my neural connections jumped to a TV news story about the funds raised at the Naples Wine Festival. The monies are targeted for the county's children. One of the recipients, a 19-year old woman shared her story of loss and abuse...as well as, success due to the fundraising. Her hopeful conclusion struck a chord with me and fit nicely with this image: "It's not where you come from,..it's where you want to go in life." Though there will likely be some limits, both this young lady and the branches still have room to grow. 5th St and 2nd Ave N, Naples, FL
Thursday, January 27, 2011
Depicting my slides for tomorrow's talk to the adult ESOL class about research and presentation...coincidentally, discussing the use and design of slide presentations with my college class tonight, so this subject got 'double duty'! Of course, a huge emphasis is on visuals - especially photographs (creative commons licensed only). It is always an enjoyable challenge to match the concept, text and image for a slide....but others seemingly resist as they continue to 'bullet point' their way to death.
Visuals definitely 'speak' to me - though often in a language that cannot be articulated. The amazing use of visualizing data via new technologies is extremely fascinating. Hans Rosling, the Swedish physician, presented his research data through some amazing visuals in 2006 at TedTalks. His Gapminder software offers not only a visual, but one that is interactive - amazing use of technology for learning! What a informative and engaging way to crunch the numbers, develop hypotheses, and understand trends! Naples, FL
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
The textures and colors of this stained glass ornament offered some brightness, emulating the sun's rays...on an otherwise gloomy afternoon. The trapped bubbles remind one of the imperfections that are evident in all of us...but the captured air could also be viewed as the need to release, to set free, to express. At some point in the development of 'schooling,' we have curtailed student expression in the process of learning. Rather than bemoan the present situation, many have selected to upstage status quo and 'change it up.' Kudos to those who pop expressive 'bubbles'! Naples, FL
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
One reason a dog can be such a comfort when you're feeling blue is that he doesn't try to find out why.
Walking my bi-eyed girl this afternoon...
- a dog-less neighbor meets us at the end of his driveway to give her a big hug and pet (and to receive a sloppy kiss)
- a child, not much taller than her, calls out to play and
- the mail carrier stops her route to give her a treat and an invite up into the mail truck.
She is a gentle and happy canine, likely about nine years old...one who is rather independent, but still appreciates her humans (at least for the food and belly rubs). She also gives back to the community, as evident from our daily encounters...and, without asking why! Naples, FL
Monday, January 24, 2011
Overcast late afternoon by the time I had a chance to shoot, but inspired by dolmansaxlil to try out my relatively new 50mm lens. Enjoyed the interaction with the natural elements...though my attempts are in need of practice. The sienna post-processing provides an additional dimension that helps to allow the blur and focus to take center stage.
The blur between various entities is often a 'slippery slope' when attempting to define and explain the conditions and the qualifiers of a particular concept. Today's presentations to the sophomore Multimedia classes on copyright and creative commons allows for such blur. The emphasis on shared culture is often at odds with the notions of global competition and economic success. Distinctions are not 'cut and dry' but the efforts to truly understand how those blurred lines overlap often takes 'digging deeper' and experiential opportunities. Fortunately, these particular students will have the entire semester to explore and build upon the blurs. Naples, FL
Sunday, January 23, 2011
The windy and cool temperatures kept many Floridians away from the beach today...but since it is season and our weather is relatively warmer to the northern visitors, there were a number of pier strollers, beach walkers, and the veritable sea gulls looking for handouts. With the sun out, you might find the water's invite for a swim fairly welcoming until you saw the people bundled up in layers and jackets. Some things are so deceptive...3rd Ave S & Gulf of Mexico, Naples, FL
Saturday, January 22, 2011
Scoping out the scene, this beautiful hawk is not happy to see me - now needing to keep an eye on me, rather than looking for available food. Even its feathers are ruffled...though I think by the wind rather than by emotion! :)
Ruffled feathers happen frequently when goals conflict rather than coincide. Sometimes there is no easy nor palatable solution. Sometimes it is best to, do like this hawk did and, just 'fly away' - leaving the scene (at least for a short reflective respite)...flight, instead of fight. Being in a new environment forces a new perspective which can smooth the feathers for more tolerance or energy for action....of course, it can also result in neglect and/or denial of a problem that needs solving, if one doesn't return to address the conflict! Freedom Park, Naples, FL
Friday, January 21, 2011
This is a funny cluster of blossoms from an equally unusual plant which is spiked and succulent (yet to be identified). It is really a neglected weed that not only manages to survive year after year, but to display such delicate and colorful blooms. Thus, I cannot bring myself to uproot it. As much as it doesn't belong in the yard, it has created its home there. Every year I threaten to clean out the patch, but ultimately, it stays. Reminds me of the many 'treasures', be it no-longer-fashionable-but-comfortable clothes or well-used decor, old tools or dated accessories...sometimes, we keep them around for a reason - even if it isn't a particularly good one! :) Naples, FL
Thursday, January 20, 2011
Not terribly inspirational... these power lines, but as previous photos attest they are a source of fascination to me for some reason. Perhaps because the simplicity of the form belies the magnitude and complexity of the product...perhaps due to variety of linear and cylindrical components...or even the contrast to the deep blue sky. No matter...as that is the only thing in my camera tonight!
We take for granted the generation of power (unless you lived through a storm or other condition with the loss of such), but we may not often consider our own power. How do we use our power to influence others? How do we measure the positive impact? What is needed to feed such energy? Conversations with students about e-teaching was a 'power'-ful charge that both fueled and provided feedback for future thinking....sparked by Diana Laufenberg's TEDxMidAtlantic talk, Embrace Failure - watch it and see if you don't find it powerful, as well. Davis Blvd and US 41 E, Naples, FL
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
A connector cord to power and sync - it has become a "life line" for many...including myself! Surely, this can't replace some of our other more human-oriented connections (from blood flowing arteries to family ties and relationships)! And, yet technologies continue to bind us in incomprehensible ways. Some are more ready for these impending changes than others...some make every effort to deny the impact of these technologies, but most are in various stages of 'awe and overwhelm' at the exponential growth of the tools. Like with past technologies, we can ignore them, we can adapt to them, we can accept them...or we can create them! Naples, FL
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
One ripe (or nearly so) papaya and many others in varying stages of growth. The latest cold snaps have not seemed to impact the fruit...though the more climate-sensitive leaves are browned and shriveled. The strength of some of our most tender plants to resist the unusually cold weather this season has been amazing.
Despite some of the barriers we often create for our students, they often show that same fortitude. Mere survival, though, is not (should not be) enough - our students deserve better. Reading an American Council on Education report today regarding statistics of GED completers between 16 and 19 years old and not surprised to learn that the majority were bored with school, didn't like school, had excessive absences from school. Often the GED completer is associated with lack of persistence - though true, one sometimes needs to look deeper into those environmental causes.
The study also noted that "It is remarkable that eight out of 10 candidates passed the GED Tests, which are developed with sufficient rigor that 40 percent of high school seniors would not pass them." (Young GED Examinees and Their Performance on the GED Tests, 2009, p. 33). That referenced 'rigor' surprised me and certainly gives more value to the credential. Hmmm...makes me think about the 'ripening' development of our students. Naples, FL
Monday, January 17, 2011
Caught this wood stork in silhouetted flight against a cloudy sky...its stark and awkward grace soars with a gentle reminder of freedom. Today marks the day we celebrate and remember the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his remarkable orations of peace, justice, opportunity, equality, and freedom.
When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every tenement and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old spiritual, "Free at last, free at last. Thank God Almighty, we are free at last."
~ Martin Luther King, Jr. , "I Have a Dream" speech, August 28, 1963
Sunday, January 16, 2011
Saturday, January 15, 2011
Trying to capture some bees that were savoring the nectar of these newly budded branches and into my viewfinder pops this butterfly (or is it a moth?)! What a fun discovery...afforded only by really looking, by truly opening my eyes, enhanced by a telephoto lens (arguably true), but also seen only by taking the time to explore and to discover.
To inquire and to serendipitously unfold is to learn. To do so in the beauty of our natural world with the experience of visual tools can turn learning into a passion. The concrete walls of educational institutions can be quite uninspiring as they often structure learning in opposite ways, but the internet, the connections (both visual and social), and the opportunity to travel into those unknown regions can be the door-opener for developing knowledge, skills, and most of all...the lifelong desire to continue the process. Freedom Park, Naples, FL
Friday, January 14, 2011
Our winters are typically pretty dry, so the competition for food in the swamp can be rough. This little blue heron has a keen eye for any possible signs of life ... and ready to strike!
Procrastination in the natural world would likely bring about extinction. In the human world, procrastination is quite prevalent and one wonders how much impact it might have on our survivability. Delaying work on a project, I often find my time counterproductive and distracting...but there are times when the delay tactic involves quiet time for thought, innovation, and reflection. Perhaps I rationalize here...hmmm - either way, I've procrastinated long enough and must move on to that project! :) Freedom Park, Naples, FL
Thursday, January 13, 2011
Revisiting some 'oldies (read 3-4 years ago), but goodies' YouTube videos that I wanted to share at my first class meeting of EME2040 as an introduction to educational technology and couldn't help but laugh once again with Sir Ken Robinson. What a wonderful sense of humor - and really love that you don't know when he'll make you smile since his topics are quite serious. Introducing an element of playfulness keeps the audience attuned and a chance for the message to be communicated. If only I could possess the same wit as Sir Ken! Lorenzo Walker campus, Naples, FL
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
A colorful splash of precisely cut cardboard designed to link perfectly with its 'neighbors' - the traditional puzzle! This puzzle is deceptively difficult - not by the image it creates, but the size of the pieces...no larger than a fingernail. I'll be pleasantly surprised if the completed puzzle is just that (completed!) - without any missing pieces! Hopefully the bright colors will keep any errant pieces from being sucked up by the vacuum cleaner?! :)
Putting the puzzle pieces together can be an overwhelming task, a therapeutic challenge, or an enjoyable activity...perhaps even all three! Like problem-solving, one needs to both focus and free the mind for optimal results ... it takes both the rational and the intuitive to be successful. Problem solved and task accomplished bring meaning, but the process of assembly can bring satisfaction, as well. Lorenzo Walker campus, Naples, FL
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
A foggy morning before dawn in the school parking lot - the shot taken by an iPhone with the ToonCamera effect. The distortion provides a muted reality, but yet we know what it resembles - our brains unconsciously make that translation with little effort.
Rarely do we take the time to examine that reality or in this case, its facsimile. We go on about our lives in the comfort of the usual routine...until something happens to make us re-examine our reality. Those events can be large (deadly natural or man-created tragedies) or small (a quote, an image, a conversation) - but they are a catalyst for thinking, engaging the mind, and letting the proverbial "wheels turn." Our educational systems and many workplaces still resemble industrial factories where the routine is established and expected...but few wheels are turning. In schools we need to make every effort to 'create' those circumstances that trigger such an examination...to go beyond the routine, albeit difficult to do. Lorenzo Walker campus, Naples, FL
Monday, January 10, 2011
Celery has never been one of my favorite vegetables...unless it is swirling around the tall glass of a Bloody Mary. The taste is flavorful and attractive but there's something about the texture that is not so appealing. With an attempt to fortify my fridge with healthy snacks, I'm trying to create a love affair with this stalky green rib (sans the drink!).
Starting with a photographic study, I've determined there is enough diversity to further the interaction. The triangular channel with its columned grooves offset the leafy tops with both parts being edible. Next a bit of research reveals the nutritional value (vitamins and minerals abound along with the expected fiber), as well as other health benefits like reducing blood pressure, cancer development, and perhaps even arthritis. Ok, I'm sold - it won't take the place of chocolate, but it will have to do! ;) Naples, FL
Sunday, January 9, 2011
In an angular kind of mood today and found the perfect shot to complement it. When much needs to be accomplished and time seems elusive, I tend to be more 'black and white' with an attempt to focus - to 'put blinders on' even. Though still interesting, the work affords little flexibility and is more prescribed than creative...much like the image. Still, there's a place for such a mood...and at the end of the day, there's a feeling of accomplishment as well! :) 6th Ave N & US 41 E, Naples, FL
Saturday, January 8, 2011
"It has been said that trees are imperfect men, and seem to bemoan their imprisonment rooted in the ground. But they never seem so to me. I never saw a discontented tree. They grip the ground as though they liked it, and though fast rooted they travel about as far as we do. They go wandering forth in all directions with every wind, going and coming like ourselves, traveling with us around the sun two million miles a day, and through space heaven knows how fast and far!" - John Muir
On a day when another nonsensical, horrific, and man-made tragedy made headline news, one can only ponder if, instead, "men are imperfect trees, and seem to bemoan their imprisonment rooted in their minds." For some, due to either a 'legitimate' crazed perspective or an uneducated, illogical sense, thoughts are so rooted that their behavior becomes hateful and violent. Oh, to be more like a tree. Pine Ridge Rd & Goodlette Rd, Naples, FL
Friday, January 7, 2011
The plastic water bottle on formica sufaced table picks up reflections from the overhead institutional lights...Pretty golden touch, as if Midas himself made an appearance!! Too bad those plastic water bottles are so wasteful - the water in them is an expensive thirst quencher with no comparable value and the bottle itself is made for single use and its recyclability rates are poor. Few can imagine the creative reuse of plastic like Miwa Koizumi (very cool floating jellyfish!) and thus, the problem.
While monitoring geocaching activities of our 9th grade geography students, I noticed one student who was picking up campus litter along the way. After applauding him, I pointed out the trash can and not only did he deposit the trash, but his actions continued throughout the 'field trip'. Such a natural reaction for him is not even on the radar of others! Undoubtedly, he will continue to make his positive mark on the world...and I can only hope that it will translate into leadership and change, as well. Kudos to him! Lorenzo Walker campus, Naples, FL
Thursday, January 6, 2011
A band of gentle rain came through this afternoon. I missed the sunshine and blue skies, but the designs from raindrops on poinsettia bracts offered a delightful surprise. Although the moisture is really welcomed, you would never know it by the beaded water...it is as if the red bract is intent on repelling the droplets. Nevertheless, the drops' reflective properties resemble delicate pieces of blown glass with infused color. The offering of beauty is cherished...and short-lived! Carpe diem...Naples, FL
Wednesday, January 5, 2011
Who wouldn't want a fistful of gift cards? Though there are some limitations, they can be purchased almost anywhere to provide the recipient an opportunity to get just what they want or to properly size an item. Others would disagree indicating that the cards totally depersonalize the act of gift-giving. Obviously, they are marketed to the commercialization of our economy, but there are some who have taken the idea to create non-monetary gifts, i.e., worth 2 hours of cleaning out the attic or a picnic at the beach, etc.
We have gifts in our everyday ordinary lives that are often ignored or devalued. Unlike the adage, "Don't look a gift horse in the mouth," we may not appreciate the importance of those treasures. Gifts can come in many forms - a genuine smile from a stranger, an energizing conversation with a friend, a beautiful sunrise, a stress-free commute. Looking for those gifts is a great motivator and satisfying reward. Daily time with the camera is just one gift I can anticipate - what's yours? Naples, FL
Tuesday, January 4, 2011
The GPS units are out of the bag - getting readied for the Geography final exam. Our creative teacher has a fun and challenging project designed for the 9th grade students...the first day of which involves finding clues with the help of waypoints and these bright yellow tools! There's quite a bit of planning for the project, but watching the students' eyes light up as they 'connect all the dots' is a worthwhile reward. Though GPS units have a natural fit with geography, they offer another way to make learning fun in a variety of content areas.
We say it often...the learning environment, instructional methods and general teaching attitudes need to be more action-oriented, more problem-solving in nature, and more collaborative. Talking about it and doing it are often very different. There's no doubt that it is much tougher to put those changes into action, but once you get past that initial discomfort and potential obstacles, the positive spiraling takes effect. Lorenzo Walker campus, Naples, FL
Monday, January 3, 2011
Some days are like a three-ring circus - but unlike the three rings in a typical circus with simultaneous performances happening, such days involve the addition of overlapping rings which can add to the confusion. And on and on it goes! :) Naples, FL
Sunday, January 2, 2011
Driving past a tree where the eagles often frequent and there was this osprey - guess it is a non-discriminatory 'tree-tel'. I only caught a few shots before it took flight and I didn't get a great shot here, but it is always rewarding to capture big birds of prey in the neighborhood. The osprey has managed to adapt to most environmental climates worldwide...with the requisite condition of nearby water to satisfy their feeding requirement. They are well-liked in our area where you will see man-made nesting posts established atop utility poles along the highways...though it doesn't stop them from making their own. ;)
Adaptation and accommodation can both be rather painful processes as one must change to meet the needs of the external world. Thus, the realization that tomorrow marks a return to work brings a certain resistance and desire to 'fly away'...though, futile, I know!! But adaptation is necessary to survive and I'll join others who also end up bowing to that 'pain'. ;) Broad & Bougainvillea, Naples, FL
Saturday, January 1, 2011
What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly.
~ Richard Bach
With the day off and a gorgeous morning, I hit three of my favorite photographic spots...this one from the Naples Botanical Garden. In the butterfly area, there was only this sole fluttering monarch...likely due to the recent spat of cold weather. The chrysalis house was full though, so the garden will soon be full of flying color.
The metamorphosis from caterpillar to butterfly is truly an amazing feat! Maya Angelou says it well, "We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty." So true of many types of change - it often doesn't come easy or quickly. Rather there's not only visible hard work, but latent and rarely considered obstacles to overcome. With the onset of New Year's resolutions, it is worth remembering such characteristics of the butterfly...but, in the meantime, enjoy its beauty! ;) Naples Botanical Garden, Naples, FL