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

One of those foggy winter days …


We woke up to temperatures in the 50s and a thick foggy stew covering everything yesterday. It seemed a perfect time to do a little Learning Walk around the yard. It was a bit mushy, walking about, but the snow melting, the fog sitting there, and the warmth of the air gave the day a ghostly look, as if the Ghosts of Christmas Past were there in our midst.
I also began tinkering around with a photo lens app called Fragment. I can’t say I know what I am doing but the results are still interesting.

and

The thing about Learning Walks is that they provide you a chance to see the common everyday work from another view, or another lens. I’m still learning …

Peace (in the yard),
Kevin

A Light Covering — A Winter Learning Walk

Since the summer’s Making Learning Connected MOOC, I have been trying to periodically take my camera/iPad and wander around my yard on a Learning Walk as a way to slow down, focus in and pay attention. I keep getting inspired by my friend Kim, who has been regularly blogging about her use of photography to connect with writing and reflection. A Learning Walk is more than a walk, I’ve found.

The other morning, this is what I found:
Winter Learning Walk
Yes, we have snow here in New England already. Not much, though, but the white covering on everything gives it a real December theme, doesn’t i? I realized later that I should have found my push mower, and snapped a shot of it. I’ve used it for various Learning Walk images. Darn.

Of all these, I find I like the pumpkin the best. It’s been on our front porch since early October, and the squirrels have had a feast with the seeds and insides, leaving it all hollowed out. The snow covering gives the orange a pretty mix. If you are wondering about the smiley face on the door, my son used wikistix to write welcoming words to friends who were visiting. The words have fallen and the eyes and mouth is all that is left at this point. I like the use of the reflection, too, as the centerpiece of the collage here.

Peace (on the walk),
Kevin

Learning Walk Photo Blitz: The Autumn Leaves

We explored the concept of the Learning Walk this summer with the Making Learning Connected MOOC — the idea that you walk with a camera and take images of what you see. In DS106, the term was PhotoBlitz. It’s sort of a visual Slice of Life. You pay attention with a level of detail you might not otherwise engage in. Yesterday, in my backyard, I was getting ready to rake up the leaves in my New England back yard and could not help but notice the rich beauty of color of what was on the ground.

Thus, the Learning Walk moment:
New England Leaf Collage

Peace (in nature),
Kevin

Early Morning Photoblitz/Learning Walk

Photoblitz for #ds106
Some folks at DS106 were posting the results of an assignment called a “photoblitz,” but I recognized it as our “learning walk” idea from the Making Learning Connected MOOC. In either case, the idea is the same: take your camera for a walk and collect photos of what you are seeing.

I went out early yesterday morning to our front yard, and used as best a photographer’s eye as I could to capture the world in that confined space. I realized that as autumn comes to New England, there are still plenty of colors hanging around, even after the rather cold nights. That became a theme of some of the photos. Others, I was searching for another way of looking at something common and familiar.

I pulled nine photos from my photoblitz into this iPad collage app.

Peace (in the pics),
Kevin