Thursday, November 27, 2014

Sultry Strands 11.27.14

Rounded the corner to find this dripping Spanish Moss backlit from the bright sunshine and knew it was worth a shot. Noticed the dewy railing wire, the lichen-splashed tree bark and the near circular leafy texture of the coco plum in the background in post-production.

Subject & Background - The epiphyte is the subject, but there are certainly a number of competing factors...most of which complement the subject (rather than compete?)
Balance - Various tones weigh in well, but wonder if too much texture variety
Point of View - Slightly angled to capture the railing and tree trunk
Simplicity - Without the sunlit coco plum, there may have been better simplicity 
Geometry (points, lines, shapes) - The lines and curves - multidirectional - are most noticeable
Repetition - Repeating lines in the railing are the most prominent
Rule of 1/3s - Pretty much ignored in this shot....
Perspective -  Nothing particularly noticeable
Symmetry - None  
Depth of Field - Created more by railing lines
Intersections - Intersections within railing and also between Spanish Moss and railing
Freedom Park, Naples, FL

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Circumspect Chance 11.26.14

Chance's reluctance to be photographed is pretty obvious - he even looks like he's giving the 'evil eye', but he survived the snap of the shutter. ;)

Subject & Background - Chance's face/expression is the focal point
Balance - Some balance in tones and definite contrast in his dark nose and 'eyeliner' with white fur
Point of View - Eye-level meant squatting for me but much more natural, but wish I hadn't cut off his ears!
Simplicity - With the exception of the definitive subject, there's not much simplicity
Geometry (points, lines, shapes) - Points (nose, eyes, ears), lines (background, fur lines) and shapes (triangular head & ears, almond eyes, leaf-shape head fur marking)
Repetition - Though not purposeful, there's repetitive pattern in the background with lines leading to the focal point
Rule of 1/3s - In this case, no grid point meets the rule, but the left vertical line from the nose up the bridge between the eyes and his left ear absolutely draws the eye
Perspective - Captures an emotion as well as the physical object
Symmetry - Not except the eyes and ears! 
Depth of Field - Enough DOF to provide interest and focus on the cautious expression
Intersections - No evidence on this shot
Naples, FL

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Diverging Diversity 11.25.14

Palm trees are ubiquitous in my environment. People often have a stereotypical image of what a palm should look like...and, yet, there is incredible diversity in the number and types of palms (more than 2,500 worldwide!). Like palm trees, there are many diverse people and cultures in our world - all of which have value. Taking the time to see all facets of individuals and situations goes a long way in making decisions about thoughts and actions. 

Subject & Background - This seems obvious...palm frond subject to light (sky) background
Balance - May be off-balance with emphasis on dark and palm frond 
Point of View - Typically shot from the ground up, but the focal point of radiating spirals may add a twist
Simplicity - Love the long triangular shapes of the fronds - simple geometry complemented with the added spiral component
Naples, FL

Monday, November 24, 2014

Patchwork of Lily Pads 11.24.14

So many lily pads - choosing one was too difficult, so the montage it is! The left one - "the missing slice of pie" is the classical shape, but the others are intriguing with their reflective sunlight and turning pads.

Subject & Background - There's no doubt that the lily pads are front and center (i.e., subjects)
Balance - Light and dark appear balanced in each, as well as in the total picture - also texture of rough and smooth are reflected nicely
Point of View - Capturing lily pads in three different ways offer a number of perspectives
Simplicity - Lines and shapes against mostly solid dark background lend a nice simplicity
Freedom Park, Naples, FL

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Reflective Rails 11.23.14

This is always a favorite sight and not sure I like the black and white version, but wanted to try it and reflections always get me thinking. ;) While walking out of the park, my thoughts went to the difficulties many of my college students have with the concept of 'inquiry-based lessons'. I know that some is due to the way they were taught and expectations of the same, but I also wonder how much is due to just not slowing down enough to think about what the concept means and how its structure could be beneficial. One more reason to continue to plug along with the reflective writing assignments as a scaffold for increased critical thinking.

Subject & Background - There are two different subjects - the boardwalk and the reflection in the water, but they move together
Balance - Tonal differences help to create balance, but the linear patterns of the boardwalk and reflections are nicely off-set with the round and scalloped textures of the lily pads
Point of View - The multiple lines are leading the eye in a prominent way
Simplicity - There's a fair amount of 'busy-ness' here, but the patterns and lines make it a bit more simplistic
Freedom Park, Naples, FL

Faraway Flags 11.22.14

Didn't get a chance to explore many of the sessions at the Global Education Conference this year - at least the 'live' version, but thankfully, recordings are archived. I did get in on Paul Salopek and Liz Dawes Duraisingh's presentation of Out of Eden Learn - an awesome retelling of the human migration story with a 7 year walk through the continents. Paul is sharing with classrooms across the world as he goes - what a learning opportunity.

Subject & Background - The cypress tree is the obvious subject, but by the title, one might see the faraway flags as an unfocused subject
Balance - Plenty of dark and white are in balance, but I also like the linear versus the feathery mass
Point of View - Purposely worked this shot to get the flying flags in the background but if I'd been a bit taller, I could have got them even with the opening in the branches
Simplicity - Wish those power lines were more blurred out, but like the general simplicity
Naples, FL

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Penned Praise 11.19.14

The campus Student Services department hosted Connections with free cupcakes and a chance to scribe their appreciations on the "Giving Thanks" banner. It was a good start to the focus on gratitude next week.

Subject - There is an obvious subject in the foreground, though the background is a bit chaotic.
Balance - Both dark and light is there and it appears to be balanced in weight
Point of View - I thought about doing an 'over the shoulder' shot, but opted for the view including a bit of the face
Simplicity - Very cluttered, but captures the essence of the story
Naples, FL

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Angled Antlers 11.18.14

Back to focus on the elements of composition - hopefully, I'll get a chance to move forward in the lessons to have other focal points soon!

Subject & Background - The antler leaves of the staghorn fern, treated with a bit of HDR effect, is the obvious subject. It is set against a mostly light background, but bridges a bit to the dark wedge
Balance - Tones and textures are both in play
Point of View - Though not entirely on purpose, the slight angled view provides an interesting slant
Simplicity - Nice plain palette to show the clean leaf offering. 
Naples, FL

Monday, November 17, 2014

Lacy Leaf 11.17.14

The nest leaves of staghorn ferns eventually age and lose their flesh exposing only the veined structure. They still serve a purpose in collecting and trapping water for the benefit of the plant's survival. Though brown and dried, they offer a beauty in the maze of their networked framework.  There are so many advantages of appreciating the 'old' - not only in form but also in function. 

Subject & Background - Wish I had a less cluttered background, but definitely more distracting in color...depth of field helps a bit.
Balance - Not too obvious, but dark/bright and texturally may provide enough
Point of View - Nothing notable here
Simplicity - Once again, a negative
So, the basic elements are not well met - and yet, it still speaks to me.
Naples, FL

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Power Parts 11.16.14

Utility poles are everywhere. Often chastised for supporting those wires that interrupt our views (especially in photos - they seem to be accommodated more easily in reality), these power parts have become a source of dependency. Viewing the solid rectangular bars of the crossarms, the discs of the fused cutouts, and the not-so-straight lines of the wires provided me with a perfect opportunity for compositional framing with geometry in mind. 
Subject & Background - Check! The sky was a cloudless canvas for the power pole
Balance - The contrast of the lighter background and fused cutouts balance the dark lines and crossbars, but I also think the various weights of lines and shapes create a nice equilibrium
Point of View - Yep! Went right below the pole and shot straight up...of course, not sure I had another choice!
Simplicity - Despite the pervasive lines, there grows a simplicity with a neutral background. 

Simplicity is a bit of an oxymoron to me. It seems that the simple things, upon closer examination, are quite complex. There are intricacies in even the simplest of forms which are often ignored and/or dismissed. Maybe it's time to rethink that definition/interpretation? ;)
Golf Dr, Naples, FL

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Steel Spokes 11.15.14

Lines, lines, lines - both straight and curved - can be a strong elements for composition. This photo has plenty of them between the paver separations to the spokes to the curved lines of the tire rim and the frame.  Exploring the focus on the spokes though puts that angled combination of 'every-which-way', but organized steel in the forefront. 

Bicycle spokes are vital for the function of the two-wheeled vehicle. Their numbers and tension provide the support for the rim, but they also contribute to the alignment, which demonstrates their integral contribution. This is still somewhat one dimensional though as the movement only occurs with the interaction of the 'push of the pedal'. Again, the networking and interdependency of so many parts is critical for action and change. 
Naples, FL

Spindly Stems 11.14.14

Still focusing on composition practice -
- subject & background - each are very distinct in my view
- balance - ok with attention to both tones, height and shadows
- point of view - not evident here
- simplicity - the lines (real stems and shadows) lend themselves nicely to a simple but powerful image.

Thinking about subject and background leads to the concept of figure/ground - the most familiar image being the Rubin vase - and the idea of contrast or more definitively, 'black and white'. At one level, we know our world is full of 'gray' with blended definition of both ends of the continuum...but at the other end, we seek a definitive response that doesn't have the ragged edges. So, perhaps, the subject/background (i.e., figure/ground) concept is really an illusion. :)
Naples, Fl

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Stairwell Shadows 11.13.14

Though I'm attracted to all of the lines, angles, textures and contrasts in this shot, it would likely be viewed as too busy by the experts. In fact, it is in direct contradiction to some basics of good composition per the course I'm reviewing while commuting:

  • Subject and Background - clearly defined subject and clearly defined background to avoid the eyes moving around too much. In this image what is the subject? I know what I intended, but now that I look at the shot, I see too many potential subjects.
  • Balance - equal weight was strived for between the dark and light tones so I may have done better with this concept
  • Point of View - trying to see things from a different perspective will offer more interest and better composition. This shot was rotated in post-processing to better address this concept, but developing that composition frame in the shot choice would increase skill! 
  • Simplicity - keeping a focus on geometric lines and contrast could be viewed as simple and yet it is so much more complex. Additionally, since the image was cropped, there was much more 'complexity' prior to the post-processing.

In retrospect, I think it might have been more interesting in composition to try to create the electrical outlet as the subject and see if the play of lines and shadows would have led to that subject but dimmed in the background. Practice is important, but practice is not helpful if it isn't purposeful and reflective in nature.
Lorenzo Walker Campus, Naples, FL 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Sunset Silhouettes 11.12.14

The days are getting shorter - a sure signal that our tropical weather is tempering and that our winter visitors will be headed south. It seems that may happen earlier this year with the frigid blast that already hit about half of the country...(how about that -26 degree F temperature in Casper, WY?! Hope family are wearing their woolies!).
Naples, FL

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Family Veterans 11.11.14

Serving in the was more of an expectation in my parent's youth. 

For my father, it was a childhood dream to go to West Point which he was able to fulfill. He then served our country both at war (Korean & Vietnam) and in peace. But it wasn't just my dad -- my mom was also in the Army (as was her father and brother...for the group picture, it looks like my grandmother put on her Red Cross 'gray lady' uniform so she wasn't left out!). 

Service is definitely part of my legacy - though various branches of the military were not my choice of service. Nonetheless, pride for my family veterans (and all who served) is always a focal point of Armistice Day, and so marked this Nov 11th 2014.
Naples, FL

Monday, November 10, 2014

Geranium Connections 11.10.14

The Geranium
When I put her out, once, by the garbage pail,
She looked so limp and bedraggled,
So foolish and trusting, like a sick poodle,
Or a wizened aster in late September,
I brought her back in again
For a new routine--
Vitamins, water, and whatever
Sustenance seemed sensible
At the time: she'd lived
So long on gin, bobbie pins, half-smoked cigars, dead beer,
Her shriveled petals falling
On the faded carpet, the stale
Steak grease stuck to her fuzzy leaves.
(Dried-out, she creaked like a tulip.)

The things she endured!--
The dumb dames shrieking half the night
Or the two of us, alone, both seedy,
Me breathing booze at her,
She leaning out of her pot toward the window.

Near the end, she seemed almost to hear me--
And that was scary--
So when that snuffling cretin of a maid
Threw her, pot and all, into the trash-can,
I said nothing.

But I sacked the presumptuous hag the next week,
I was that lonely.
~ by Theodore Roetheke

Ever think about how someone/something really impacts you? This poem matched the unexpected bloom of the pot 'thrown out' in the yard. It also resonated after reading this heart-felt excerpt of Rescue Me by Wendall Brock. Staying focused on connections - be it with people, animals or nature. 
Naples. FL

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Dreary with a Touch of Pink 11.09.14

So much for the hopes of a sunny Sunday...though it looks like the youth regatta remained on schedule. And, there's always plenty of 'catch up' work to do inside. 

Today marks the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall - a day I remember vividly, not only because of what it symbolized at the time, but also due to my own experiences at and around the site prior to the fall of the Wall. We were stationed in Heidelberg, Germany in the mid '60s (my father was in the Army) and visited friends in Berlin. I remember being petrified when we were stopped at Checkpoint Charlie crossing in and out of the area by train - the guards were menacing and the large dogs appeared to be constantly growling. I'm sure this memory was a bit exaggerated with a child's imagination, but there was definitely a sense of intimidation. My father was not allowed to tour East Berlin with my mother and me due to his security clearance, but he did manage to cut a piece of the Wall's barbed wire which I still possess as a remembrance of the experience...and its symbol.
Lowdermilk Park @ Gulf of Mexico, Naples, FL  

Miami Device Sketchnote and Resources

After attending @langwitches, Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano's session on Sketchnoting at Miami Device conference November 6 and 7 2014, I knew I had to take action and give it a try. Immediately, I attempted to do a live session on S.A.S.S.Y. SAMR by @techchef4u, Lisa Johnson and found it very difficult to listen and think at the same time!  ;)

Though much more time consuming to do in a final reflection on take-aways and embedded resources via Thinglink, I think I'm hooked on continued attempts and sharing with teachers and students. There really is something about the thinking process that goes deeper than the kinesthetic creative outlet...though there is much room for that 'artistic' practice. :)

As mentioned in my Flickr post, there was so much more to this conference than the sessions (though they were inspirational and informative). I couldn't have asked for a more engaging and rewarding experience (except to be teleported home to avoid the horrendous traffic trying to get home). Thanks to @felixjacomino and all of his support who created this incredible event. 

Florida Autumn Touch 11.08.14

Despite the need to increase intensity, our area does experience a touch of autumn when the daily deluges retreat but the sun remains warm and embracing. By November, though technically we are still in hurricane season, we have the opportunity to enjoy cooler nights and drier days - which impacts those non-native plants, to include this weedy vine. So some begin a hibernation of sorts, most humans are actively enjoying the balmy weather and outdoor activities. 
Naples, FL

Friday, November 7, 2014

Suénalo @Miami Device 11.07.14

The beat and sway of Suénalo was a top-notch ending to one of the most awesome conferences I've ever attended - Miami Device. First, it was small, which allowed for a more personal feel and conversational access to all participants (including speakers - and there were some stellar ones!). Then, there were the 'extras' - the location of Coconut Grove at the St. Stephens Episcopal Day School and the optional South Beach Culinary Tour (extra $, but oh so worth your while...), the Suénalo performance and the Jackery give-away with all being winners. Last, but not least, was the passionate and sharing atmosphere from a diverse number of people who really make learning happen - not just for those of us at the conference, but most importantly for our constituents/students who will undoubtedly benefit from our own learning...and keep that cycle of growth moving. Coconut Grove, Miami, FL

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Sunrise on the Bay 11.06.14

One can only relax when seeing such a lovely sight with evidence of the new day dawning and vessels to take you on your 'journey' - Make the best of it! 
Coconut Grove, Miami, FL

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Moon Over the Everglades 11.05.14

Headed for Miami Device into the full moon and rain clouds - just couldn't resist trying to capture the lunar sphere as it played 'hide and seek' behind the puffy clouds. Looking forward to a full two days of learning.
Alligator Alley (I-75) between Naples and Miami, FL

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Chance Votes 11.04.14

Though I haven't voted on a designated Election Day since early voting became available, Chance makes his vote known for early dinner today (you can even see the 'hunger drool' beginning to form). 

Voting is a right and a responsibility we are lucky to have in our democratic society - one that is often difficult to effectively perform when solid information is difficult to discern amongst the dicey advertising, the 'political facts', and the dodging of important issues. Nevertheless, my vote is in and I look forward to hearing the outcome.
Naples, FL 

Monday, November 3, 2014

Rusty Iridescent Fish 11.03.14

Mondays can be challenging....especially after a 3-day weekend. Despite the rusty framework, though, there is a colorful world out there - it's all about the perspective one takes, as evidenced by the varying views of this luminous item. Naples, FL

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Two Bees, A Flower, and A Bud 11.02.14

The bees were all over these flowers - no shortage of pollen-carriers here!

Swamp Buggy Parade 11.01.14

One of the unique things about Naples is its diversity. Though the town is known for its pristine beaches and seemingly endless golf course options, it is also home to the Swamp Buggy Races  ...and parade. So, in addition to High School bands and politicians, we have an interesting array of swamp buggies!
5th Ave N & U.S. 41, Naples, FL