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Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Art Gallery Spotlight: Science and Photography: Kris Light

TN State Organization, Alpha Epsilon

 “Keep your love of nature, for that is the true way to understand art more and more.”

~Vincent Van Gogh

With a camera in hand, Kris Light, our spotlight artist, travels far and wide finding just the right piece of nature to capture within her lens. Since 2003, Kris has hiked many trails and traveled reveling in what she sees in the outdoors and preserving surprises the naked eye cannot see. Her most recent trip, during the summer of 2022, took her to the Galapagos Islands. She has created a slide show of her adventures, as a virtual workshop, that will soon be available through the Tennessee website. She includes history, politics, geology, and animals of the islands within the presentation. Kris uses her photography in her teaching to bring concepts to life. Pictured to the left is Kris Light at the science museum Halloween party booth in her flight suit received after attending the Huntsville Space and Rocket Center Space Camp for educators.

Tell us about yourself as an educator and artist.

I am the Outreach Educator for the American Museum of Science and Energy in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. I have taught classes in numerous schools for the past 34 years. In addition to my photography, I make jewelry with stones, beads, sterling silver, copper, and brass. My first jewelry was made from the snowflake photos and resin.

What inspired you to use a camera?

I love wildflowers and nature; the camera gave me a way to document what I saw during hikes in the woods. I got my first digital camera in 2003 which transformed my love for photography. That year I used my digital photos to start a website about wildflowers and nature:

Tell us about your interest in macro photography and explain what the term macro is all about.

Macro photography is all about showing off a small subject extremely close-up. The term ‘macro’ refers to the lens needed for the close-up shots of small items that makes the objects appear life-sized or larger than they are.

Macro photography is necessary to bring out the details of very small objects such as tiny insects (I once photographed an aphid giving birth!), butterfly scales, and individual snowflakes.  I also use the macro lens to photograph moths when I give presentations to show participants the beautiful colors and patterns not visible to the naked eye. It is interesting that the temperature and humidity in the clouds determine the type of snowflakes we see. Macro photographs show the incredible detail found in the tiny crystals.

Explain how you go about photographing snowflakes.

Photographing snowflakes takes a lot of time, patience, and warm clothes! Unfortunately, I don’t get many opportunities to do this type of photography because we don’t have much snow in Oak Ridge. When it starts to snow, I run out to the patio and catch the snowflakes on a plywood board covered with black velvet (my neighbors are used to the strange things that I do!). I prop the board with the snowflakes against the house to shoot the crystals. I have to wear thin gloves because it is not possible to push the shutter button with thick ski gloves. It takes longer to get myself dressed and ready than it does to set up the camera equipment. A cloth for wiping my watery eyes helps due to the cold and wind.

What equipment is needed to become a macro photographer?

This is an expensive hobby! The equipment I use includes a Nikon D300S digital camera, a 105mm macro lens, a 36mm extender that goes between the lens and the camera body, a carbon fiber tripod, ball head, and a focusing rail for very fine focus of the snowflakes.

What advice would you offer someone interested in learning about macro photography in particular and photography in general?

It is very helpful to take photography lessons through a camera store or local college to learn how to use the camera and how to take the best photos. A ball head and tripod to hold the camera is very helpful when shooting with a macro lens.

How does the value of the arts impact education? 

I use photos from my travels all over the country and different countries in the PowerPoint presentations for my outreach classes (for instance: flowers, insects, geology, geography, animals). I have photographed soap bubbles to show students about refraction.

Do you have anything else you’d like to share about yourself or your DKG journey?

I have given several programs to my DKG chapter about nature, the “Jewels from the Sky” snowflake presentation, and most recently the trip to the Galapagos Islands. Islands another member and I took this summer. Earlier this year I was awarded a Xi State Foundation Grant to be able to teach Forces and Motion classes to 5th graders in low-performing schools in my county.


Thursday, November 17, 2022

Spotlight Outstanding DKG Members

Wonderful and inspiring educators make up DKG at all levels: chapter, state organizations, and International.  We love to read about these inspirational leaders and educators.  The International Membership and Expansion Committee spotlights these outstanding members on the International Website.  Are you ready to tell everyone about a member of your chapter or state organization?

Anyone that is a member of DKG can be featured on the website.  First, pick a member you want to spotlight.  They can be nominated by filling out the google form on the International website.  On the home page at scroll down to the banner that says, “Spotlight A Member”.  When you click on the banner a list of the members who have previously been spotlighted appears.  You can read about these members so you know what the member spotlight will look like when it is completed and appears on the website.

Clicking on the yellow box that says submit will take you to the google form to nominate a member for the Member Spotlight.  You will enter the name of the nominee, her city, state organization, and chapter.  You will then rate your nominee in the following areas:  DKG involvement and promotion of the Society, involvement outside of DKG, innovative and creative action, leadership, and overall impact on education.  Under each section the person completing the form is asked to write some information about the nominee and what they have accomplished.  At the bottom of the form the person completing the form enters her name and email address. 

 Forms can be submitted at any time.  Forms are then reviewed by the International Membership and Expansion Committee.  Submit your nomination now so that we learn about a member of your chapter or state organization.  It is our hope we can be inspired by the wonderful members that are the heart of our Society. 

For more blogs on Member Spotlight search the blogs of March 10, 2016, entitled “The Spotlight is on:  MEMBERS!” or February 9. 2021 titled, “Spotlight Special”.

Thursday, November 3, 2022

Project Spotlight


It has been my observation, that many DKG chapters are doing great things.  Members are teaching, learning, sharing, and growing in their schools and communities.  Incredible projects are taking place across our organization! 

Once a project is well under way, chapters are encouraged to take one more step.  Submit an article to DKG’s Project Spotlight.  Project Spotlight is found on the DKG website, under the Programs/Projects tab. It serves to share information about projects done well, so that others can replicate them or be inspired to create a similar one of their own. 

The process is simple, just write a brief article about the project and include pictures if possible.  Submit the article to Trish Woodley, DKG Membership Director.  Members from across our organization will be glad that you did. 

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