#DigiWriMo: Digging up the Past with Photographs

My own sixth grade

At Digital Writing Month, Michelle Pacansky-Brock wrote a wonderful post about the power of family and historical photographs that can tell our stories. Her piece had me digging through the top drawer of my clothes dresser — a pile of papers, bills, documents and a few photographs — to find my class picture from my sixth grade year.

I am now a sixth grade teacher, so these two photographs — one of the entire sixth grade, and one of my sixth grade class — are gentle reminders of what it is like to be that age. I decided to use these two photos for a digital story.

The app I used is the free Adobe Voice, which I continue to rave about for being a free, easy-to-use tool for making digital stories. Not a whole lot of bells and whistles, but when the heart of the composition is the story, what works best is simplicity.

I made this comic tutorial for another project:

Using Adobe Voice

Peace (in the years),
Kevin

#DigiWriMo Collaboration: Our Eyes on the Skies

This week, we move into Visual Literacies with Digital Writing Month. We continue to discover ways to engage people collaboratively, and the latest project is an inspiration by my friend, Kim Douillard, whose weekly photographic prompts are just a wonder in and of themselves.

As Kim is a guest contributor to the Digital Writing Month site this week, I asked if we could take her latest theme of “the sky” and turn it into something larger: a collaborative, global photo journal of people documenting the skies.

You are invited to join us, too. Head to the open Google Slide Presentation we are calling Our Eyes on the Skies, choose a slide, and upload an image of what you see when you look up. Add your geographic location, and name, if you are comfortable.

Peace (in the spirit of collaboration),
Kevin

 

The Beginning and the Ending: An Image

Start of fall, end of summer
Kim had us thinking of how to capture the start of something or the end of something via an image, as part of our Photo Fridays adventure. (Actually, she is gathering folks to do an image a day for September. I don’t think I can do it, but you might want to try. At least, follow along with her ideas for photos as literacy.)

I live in New England, and already, the trees are beginning to change. We know it’s coming, this thing we call Autumn, but to see it happening in a few select trees (the same trees, changing first every year, and those are the trees we think of the dreaded Harbinger of Winter on the Horizon.)

I found this leaf on a walk and it seemed to perfectly illustrate the start of something (Autumn) and the end of something (Summer) with its color pattern. The deep green, run through with golden brown. It is as if the leaf was resisting. Resistance is futile.

Autumn is coming … maybe it is here.

Peace (in the air),
Kevin

 

Looking Past the Screen

Screen timeA friend in the Making Learning Connected MOOC did an interesting art/media activity … her daughter had given her a nifty birthday card of a woman in a dress, but the dress was cut-out, allowing you to see the world through the folds of the dress. You hold up the card, and while the frame is the same — the woman, smiling — the layer beneath the flowing skirt is whatever you hold the card up against.

Check out Wendy’s post to see the images.

I saw that and thought: how simple and how amazingly cool, and then decided, I need to give that a try. So I did.

I made a drawing of a computer, and cut out the screen, and then decided to make a commentary on seeing the world beyond the screen. It’s a reminder of the beauty of the world all around us (ironic, I know, in that I am sharing the idea on your screen).¬† This is a collage of some of the images that I ended up taking.

Real screen collage

Give it a try. See what happens. The results are pretty interesting, I think.

Peace (in the view),
Kevin

Slice of Life: The Overlooked Moments

(This is a post for Slice of Life, a writing challenge throughout March, hosted by Two Writing Teachers. We notice the small moments. You write, too.)

Night outside

In another writing space with National Writing Project colleagues (including Bonnie), our good¬†friend Kim Doullard hosts a Photo Fridays feature, where she shares photos on a theme and asks us to keep our lens open for possibilities. This week’s theme is all about “the overlooked” moments. Last night as I was taking the dog out, I looked at the sky from our driveway and saw a plethora of colors in the night. The tree provides a nice frame, as does the stars in the sky, and the street/house lights give off yet another color.

It’s the perfect image for a visual slice of life, and Kim’s advice to notice the overlooked dovetails so nicely with our writing activities, of noticing those things we see all the time but now we see them in a slightly different light. Turn your head a bit. Squint your eyes. Reframe what you see. Notice the overlooked.

LATE ADD: This morning, when I went outside after writing, I saw this:
Morning sky

Peace (in the visual),
Kevin

A Nearly Perfect View from Above

Skinner Mt View of the valley
I took two of my sons, and a friend, for a hike up a local mountain. A beautiful public building sits on top, open again after two years of renovations, and on the railing, you can see … forever … or at least as forever seems in our valley area of Western Massachusetts. I used a panoramic lens app on my iPad to stitch together this view on this perfect day, with puffy clouds overhead.

Peace (in the picture),
Kevin

From Macro to Micro: The Forgotten Truck in Five Images


I’ve had the Storehouse digital storytelling app on my iPad for some time now — it was touted as the next wave of digital storytelling, from a design standpoint — and I am just now getting into figuring it out, thanks to the Make Cycle for the Making Learning Connected MOOC that has us telling a story in five images. My story is about a toy truck that I picked up at a tag sale for my oldest son (now 16) when he was three years old. It had its days as the main truck for all three boys, but now sits in rusty retirement behind our fire pit.

I can’t seem to find a reason to get rid of it. The truck comes freighted with memories.

So, for my five image story, I decided to try to pan out (with a panoramic app) to capture the entire back yard (macro), and then slowly zoom in (micro) to the truck in its hiding spot. I resisted adding text to the project, although I feel as if it probably needs it for context.

But I will let it stand as it is, and say that more playing with Storehouse has yielded a very powerful story that I will share tomorrow. You’ll be pretty amazed at it, I think.

I also added the five images into flickr. I like the Storehouse version better.

From Macro to Micro (Forgotten Truck)

Speaking of story, I missed the entire online discussion yesterday with CLMOOC folks about the nature of storytelling and the question of “what is a story?” that has framed inquiry in the community lately, but I did create this little Tapestry to make a point about collective storytelling.

Peace (in five),
Kevin

Visual Slice of Life: Variations on a Flower

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(This is part of the Slice of Life Challenge with Two Writing Teachers. We write about small moments each and every day for March. You come, too. Write with us.)

Over at another writing space where I “live” with words, our friend Kim has begun to prompt our thinking around the visual. So, today, this slice is more visual than written. Kim has us thinking “spring” this, which is difficult to do when our yard is still covered in snow and temperatures plunged again the other day.

Spring has not yet sprung in New England … and yet … and yet, I saw a neighbor hooking up white buckets and tubing to his trees, anxious to catch the flow of sap when it begins. So, maybe he knows something I don’t know. Maybe spring will actually come.

For now, I have flowers in a vase, and this series of photos and filters is a celebration of the bright yellow on our kitchen table.

First, one of the originals:
Flowers

Then, a collage:
Tulips before Spring

Then, some odd filtering:
More Tulips with effects

Finally, a visual word cloud:
Spring
 

Peace (in the color),
Kevin

 

Playing with Fragment and Photos

I have an app called Fragment that does all sorts of odd things to photographs. I used it this week for two Daily Create assignments over at DS106. The first was to “app up” a silhouette, but I abandoned the shadow idea in order to play around with the “app up” part of things. I took a shot of some art on our walls and created this:

Then, yesterday, the call was for a Cubomania Self Portrait. Alan Levine reflects on how he did his here (using Big Huge Labs). But I realized that I could use Fragment again for mine.

It’s intriguing to play around with composing with images.

Peace (in the camera’s eye),
Kevin