Saturday, February 20, 2010
When was the last time you took a moment to look up at the stars? Did you make a wish? It's amazing how many things we take for granted and forget that they are even there. When my children were learning about the solar system in preschool, we made a habit of looking for the moon on the way home and labeling what phase it was in. This was easy to do since we live in New England and it is dark by 5pm during the winter months. No matter how cold it was outside, we couldn't go in the house until they made their nightly wish on a star. Three years later, my children will still point out what phase the moon is in, and still will wish on a star now and then.
During the weekends in the summer we often stay up late and wait for the stars and moon to come out. We sometimes have contests to see who is going to see the first star. We have a Discovery Kids telescope that we set up and spend as much time as we can tolerate with the bugs looking through it. We point out the constellations and I encourage my children to create their own "constellations" and name them. Sometimes they will create silly stories to go along with their new constellation.
But stars are not only found in the sky. Nature has a funny way of creating shapes and patterns that are found in more than one place. My son pointed out last summer that the moss growing under a tree in our yard looked like little stars. I wish I thought to take a picture. I will this year. Here are some photos of other "stars" that I found last year.
I only began to notice this pattern in nature late in the fall season last year, so I was not able to get wide of a variety of photos. This year it definitely will be a focus of mine. I also plan to put my children to work as we hike and explore nature together to see what shapes and patterns they can find.
Sunday, February 14, 2010
As I understood more photography techniques than pointing the camera and snapping a picture, I became interested in photographing little things in nature that we often pass by without a second glance. It is amazing how much I wasn't seeing before I started to look. Take the picture above for example. I was in my backyard with my camera looking for interesting things to photograph. On the edge of the wood line I came upon these small mushrooms growing on some fallen leaves, which reminded me of bottle caps. I truly believe the only reason I noticed them was because I was forcing myself to look for little things. Had I not been, I probably would have stepped right on them and continued on my way, maybe even getting a little frustrated that I didn't find anything to photograph. My children were with me when I made this discovery. I hope that they learned to just stop and observe all around them sometimes. I know I did. You might be amazed at what you may find when you focus your attention to really look at what you are seeing.
Below is a Lady Slipper that caught my eye while we were waiting for my daughter to compete in her horse competition. It was growing in on the side of the forest next to the seating for the spectators. Lady Slippers are wild flowers that are very rare and are actually protected by law to not be pick or transplanted. I took some time photographing it, but then my attention switched to my daughter who entered the ring. When I went back to take a few more photos of the Lady Slipper, it had unfortunately been stepped on by another spectator who probably didn't even notice it. Proof of my point above. Take time now and then to really focus on what you are seeing, even the little things, or you will never know what you are missing!
Sunday, February 7, 2010
How often do you stop to reflect on what you are seeing? When I learned to see through my new photography eyes, I was able to see the beauty in nature through a new perspective. I had never noticed before how water can create a beautiful reflection of a scene the way I do now. You don't have to travel great distances to reflect on this new perspective, you can look right outside your window in your own back yard. For example, this above picture was taken in my backyard in my small water pond. I didn't even have to leave my property to appreciate the beauty in nature.
The pictures below are from a state park located about 15 mins away from me. I have lived in the same place for almost 10 years and had never visited this park until this fall. Which is very interesting considering many families plan extended vacations and camping trips to this park. I was looking for a local place to take a few photos and observe some wild life with my children when we drove by a sign to the park. I thought "Why not?". We had a great time, saw a lot of bird species, frogs, turtles and some fish. Another great example of taken for granted what is right around you.
As I began to notice reflections, I would point them out to my children. This time they pointed one out to me. We were spending some time exploring the beach in the fall, and my son happened to turn around and notice the cloud formations in the sky. My daughter noticed that after the wave went back in the reflection of the clouds was created on the sand. This was the first time that I had every paid attention to this. I can't wait for it to warm up a little so I can get back to the beach to see what else I have always taken for granted.
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
It's funny how we think we have to travel great distances to see amazing sites. We often forget what is right in our own back yard or state. I was able to take in so many beautiful sights in NH during a day trips to the White Mountains. Even thought they are located only a few hours away from me by car, I had almost forgot about them until I discovered photography. I am so happy that I rediscovered them and all their beauty. I am looking forward getting a little more off the beaten trail and doing some hiking this summer to gain more of an appreciation of them.
My first time to the top of Mt. Washington, and I have only live here for 30+ years! I'm glad that when I finally did go to the top, I was able to appreciate everything I was seeing through my new appreciation for what is around me. This is the Cog Rail that will take you to the top. We did the auto road, which I don't recommend for anyone who is afraid of heights, but it certainly is an unforgettable experience for those who are courageous enough. Especially when you slowly pass the tree line. My kids couldn't get over the fact that trees stop growing at a certain altitude. From the bottom the mountains it looks like they have trees all the way to the top. Talk about hands on learning!
This is the end of the Cog Rail at the top of the mountain. Notice the chains on the building. They actually go completely over the building to hold it down in the 200 mph winds they get at the top! Glad it was a clear, calm day when we went!
This is a small waterfall at the Lost River. Another great place I recommend to take in the beauty of the mountains. There are so many places I have yet to discover. I am mapping out my game plan for this summer already!