Saturday, February 25, 2012

Third Time the Charm?

On the long, slow, snowy drive, just over half way from town, I crested the hill and there it was.  The elusive lynx.  It was my second sighting of this cat in the four years we have lived in NW Ontario.  The first time I slowed the car to a stop in order to watch the spiky eared cat pad across the road on its large paws and then disappear into the forest.   It was a shady part of the drive, so I didn't even bother picking up my camera from the passenger seat to take a photo.  At today's sighting and before the cat moved off, I pulled over, quickly picked up my camera and shot a few frames, hoping to get at least one photo.  But, alas, shooting through a dirty windshield of a vibrating car does not a sharp photo make.  As I got out of the car, the lynx moved into the forest.  And then I noticed the smaller kittens that had already crossed the road and were in the trees.  If only I had been a minute or so earlier on the scene.  Sigh.  Maybe the third time around I'll get at least one sharp capture of a lynx.  But, as my spouse pointed out when I told her my story, at least I saw a lynx, and a lynx family at that.  It's a rare treat to see these secretive animals even once, let alone twice.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Student Art Project: Paul Klee

I find it very difficult to teach art.  In a recent search, I came across an art teacher's blog that is terrific for a person such as myself.  The author writes clear descriptions and posts pictures to help you through the creation process. Encouraged by my spouse, who tells me that the only way to teach art to students is to do it yourself, I painted a "Paul Klee Inspired Heart Painting" on my own the previous weekend.  After my students learned about Paul Klee and we discussed some of his artwork, I then walked my students through the project this week, step by step.  They loved it.  At parent teacher conferences last night they proudly showed off their work. 

If you struggle with teaching art, check out A Faithful Attempt.  There might be a project or two that you can use for your class.

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Saturday, February 11, 2012

Project 365: Week 6

Taking photos this week was hard, mostly because of time restraints (report cards, writing assessments, reading benchmarks, etc.) and exhaustion. I quickly grabbed a capture each day, hoping it would turn out when I loaded the pics into Lightroom on the weekend. Tonight I tried my hand at some abstract photos because my earlier photos from the day were crap less than desirable and I needed to come up with something else. The abstract attempt became an exercise in frustration because I need a better tripod for macro work and a whole lot more patience dealing with olive oil (don't ask). I did learn some things tonight and will come back to the abstract later to improve upon it. So this week is done. In spite of all the extra school work this week, I managed to take a pic or two each day, which was the goal of this project.

Time to go clean up the mess I made...

You can also see the pics here or here.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Randomography: Josiah

As I took photos of Cubebots, Josiah yelled out, "Papa, take a picture of me!" So, I did.

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Bus Ride

"Up the hill!"
"Down the hill!"
"Up the hill!"
"Down the hill!"
"Up the hill!"
"Down the hill!"

And so the chanting went until our school bus driver turned left onto the main road.  A cheer rose up from the "Down the hill!" chanters, drowning out the moans and groans from the "up-the-hillers".

Because my spouse took the car into town earlier this morning for an appointment, I had the unique pleasure of riding the school bus home today.  Most days the bus does two runs before and after school.  However, today there was only "one bus".  Normally I would have asked someone else for a ride, but I had hoped to take a pic of Fi riding the bus home.  Alas, because it was a "one bus" day, it was not meant to be.  Students were jammed into the seats, and I, being the last one on, had to stand in the aisle, trying to move as little as possible so as not to whack any students with my teaching and camera gear (goes everywhere!).

As the driver pulled away from the school, the students began the chant "Up the hill, down the hill."  If the driver turned right, the "up-the-hillers" would have a shorter bus ride and arrive home sooner than the "down-the-hillers".  And if left, the opposite.  So, a cheer from the "down-the-hillers" today.

The rest of the ride was boisterous, loud and amazingly cheerful.  Because I was on the bus (a teacher on the bus is a rare occurrence), there were many light-hearted jokes ("Just kidding!") and laughter at my expense (which actually is a good thing, meaning that the students tolerate my presence).  As I stepped down off the bus, there was a chorus of "Bye!" and "Have a good weekend, Mr. K!", knocking on windows and waving of students' hands.  Some days I feel like I don't make any difference here, but today was one that showed me that I do.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Video: Tipping Barrels

I'm in the process of preparing a series of cross-curricular lessons about the Northern Gateway Pipeline. I watched the video "Tipping Barrels - Journey Into The Great Bear" today as part of the preparations. Important message aside, I loved the cinematography of this movie. I often watch movies with a photographer's eye, and this movie is truly inspiring. Please note: it is long-ish for a web video (20 minutes), so be prepared to take out some time from your busy, hectic life and truly enjoy a marvelous visual experience (in my humble opinion).

Tipping Barrels from Sitka on Vimeo.

From Vimeo: ‘Tipping Barrels’ is a unique combination of surfing and environmental journalism that follows surfers Arran and Reid Jackson on a trip into the heart of the Great Bear Rainforest, where they learn more about the region and the issues confronting it.