Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Reflections on Project 365

I have thought about finishing Project 365 ever since I started. A year ago, I was full of enthusiasm for the resolution to take a picture every single day of 2007. Some days it didn't seem hard at all, but it wasn't long before I ran into the hard days, and whenever, especially in the first half of the year, I thought about how many more days there were to go, I found it really daunting.

From the beginning I set rigid standards for myself. I had to take a picture every day. I had to either actually click the shutter or set the self-timer on the camera myself. I couldn't use a picture that had been taken by someone else or on some previous day. I couldn't miss a single day taking pictures, though I never promised to post my picture every day on time. It did not start out, for me, as a blogging project or internet related at all; the blog was just a place to collect the images and, to a degree, hold me accountable. So I posted Sunday pictures on Monday mornings and occasionally missed posting a day's picture by a day or so for various reasons.

But I never missed taking a picture.

My daughter has persevered by my side in the project. She has been every bit as disciplined as I, and her encouragement along the way has been a real boon. There were many evenings when one or the other realized she had not yet taken a picture and a reminder saved the day. We made a good team.

Aimée tried to choose a picture for the day that somehow represented that day. I cared less about that and more about taking quality pictures. Some of her pictures don't really represent her days at all, and many of mine are not very good, but it helped to have goals in mind nonetheless.

When I started I hoped the exercise would improve my photography. It has done that, I think, and a whole lot more. I learned to use the macro setting on my camera for closeups, learned more about depth of field, learned not to use the flash whenever possible, and, near the end of the year, learned some ways to make the flash a little less damaging to the picture. Looking at Aimée's pictures helped me improve my framing of shots--she has such a good eye. And I learned to take lots and lots and lots of pictures in hopes of getting one or two good ones.

The other major benefit for me was the way the project increased my awareness of my natural surroundings. Many afternoons in the spring, summer, and fall, I found myself pictureless and went outside in search of something to photograph. I discovered a world of wonder in my yard. Oh, I knew there were squirrels and chipmunks and turkeys and spiders and flowers and grasses and trees out there before, but wanting a good picture meant much more careful looking, more waiting and watching. Did you know spiders build the most amazing webs in the fall? And what are chipmunks doing when they sit very still for a long time making that chirping noise that makes their throats wiggle? What were those agitated squirrels looking at as they quivered and chattered on those low branches? I have a better sense for what blooms when and what insects are likely to be out and about when, which plants the dragonflies and damselflies like best, and where to look for mushrooms in the grass. I am better acquainted with the screech of the blue jay and the screech of the hawk, the rustle of turkeys (they care not a whit about noise!) and the smaller rustles of the chipmunks.

My eyes were wide when I had my camera around my neck, but that sense of looking and listening and being aware of my surroundings spilled over so that I have been more alert more of the time even when I wasn't on the hunt for a picture. I see hands in the grocery store that I would like to photograph, a couple on the street, the sky as I'm driving, the birds inside Costco (which I meant to photograph this year but never did).

And so, what now? There were times in the year--in the summer and fall, mostly, when it was relatively easy to find a good picture outside--when I thought I'd do Project 365 again. But as soon as winter set in, not the pretty snowfall winter but the cold, wet, feeling-stuck-inside winter, I knew I couldn't do another winter taking still lifes indoors just to get a picture. Maybe another year--but not this year. I must admit that while I was really looking forward to the end this month, last night after midnight, when I had completed the challenge and taken my last picture, I felt a little let down: It's over. I did it, and that feels great, but... It's over, and that's a little sad. Not sad enough to make me do it again in 2008, but a little sad. I will miss the discipline, the feeling of doing something most people don't do (and succeeding), the excuse to carry my camera everywhere.

I fully expect to continue to take pictures. I've taken up digital scrapbooking, and I need pictures to scrap! And I still enjoy photography, perhaps even more than I did when I started the project a year ago. I won't be posting here any more, though. If you're interested in the view into my life that the pictures this year has provided, bookmark my other web site, Honeypot Rambles, and look for pictures--and words--there. I am unlikely to post daily, but I may make an effort to post even more regularly now that I'm not posting here. And thanks for the views and comments and encouragement along the way!

One last word, to my e-list friends who are just starting or restarting Project 365 as I end: Have fun with it, stick with it, and enjoy the ride! I am just a little bit envious. Just a little bit.

47 comments:

Pam said...

I enjoyed reading about your experience. Thanks for posting.

Kristine said...

Laura, thank you for the encouragement. I didn't join the ring last year, but I had 400-500 posts. I appreciate your comments about how it improved your eye, your photography; maybe it will do that for me too!

Berry Patch said...

Laura,
You & your daughter did a fabulous job with this project last year. I had grand plans at the start of the year but they fell rather flat rather fast. I'm hoping I can give it a better start this year. I really enjoyed your photos & I could see them getting better & better. Your macro photos were awesome!

有趣 said...

Care killed the cat. take care yourself..........................

健康保寶 said...

我們唯一需要恐懼的事,是恐懼本身........................................

sister tlaj said...

全裸打炮打手槍打飛機巨乳巨奶女優大奶性交性愛淫蕩淫慾淫亂淫婦淫妹淫叫淫水淫女情慾情色做愛限制級波霸口交18禁貼圖寫真視訊援交露點爆乳潮吹裸體裸照

昱廷 said...

We could learn a lot from crayons. Some are sharp, some are pretty and some are dull, Some have weird names , and all are different colors, but they all have to live in the same box.............................................

雅琳雅琳 said...

喜樂的心是健康良藥,憂傷的靈使骨枯乾。........................................

郭君 said...

生存乃是不斷地在內心與靈魂交戰;寫作是坐著審判自己。......................................................

332wil0佳穎4burc_custis said...

書籍乃世人累積智慧的大明燈。......................................................

BennieS雅嘉玲筑 said...

路過--你好嗎..很棒的BLOG.........................................

domenicl_drapeau060799 said...

偉大的致富萬能之鑰,正是幫你充分掌握自己心志所必須的自律自制........................................

淑娟 said...

謝謝您的分享~感恩唷!!..................................................

謝TrumanTignor said...

想要推動天下,先要發動自己。.............................................

K910athrinA_Petrin0 said...

一定要保持最佳狀況呦,加油!!!期待你發表的新文章!.............................................

Avri221lE_Pryce1 said...

欣賞是一種美德~回應是最大的支持^^.............................................

雅婷 said...

謝謝分享好文章 ........................................

瓊慧 said...

要保持更新呦,加油!!!期待你的新文章!!! ........................................

子名子名 said...

來給你加油打氣!!!保重!!! ........................................

QuinnJ怡潔 said...

婚姻對男人來說是賭他的自由,對女人而言卻是賭她的幸福。............................................................

趙佳治 said...

放棄者不會勝利,勝利者永不放棄。.........................

聖妃 said...

It is never too late to learn. .................................................................

湖聿湖聿 said...

你不能左右天氣,但你可以改變心情.............................................................

育隆 said...

生存乃是不斷地在內心與靈魂交戰;寫作是坐著審判自己。....................................................................

致念致念 said...

生存乃是不斷地在內心與靈魂交戰;寫作是坐著審判自己。......................................................................

啟均 said...

向著星球長驅直進的人,反比踟躕在峽路上的人,更容易達到目的。............................................................

陳韋夏陳韋夏益東富益東富 said...

Hello~Nice meet you~~............................................................

天花天花 said...

Seeing is believing.百聞不如一見............................................................

宥妃宥妃 said...

文章是心情的反應~~祝妳天天寫的都是讓人開心的好文章哦!!............................................................

ju吳phe宇te佳ns said...

Quietude is the crown of life.............................................................

懿綺懿綺 said...

感謝不吝分享您的心得............................................................

richardsbishop20199 said...

hello, i visited~~感謝大大分享..!..................................................................

楊儀卉 said...

累了嗎?來杯咖啡休息一下吧!...............................................................

潘凱花潘凱花 said...

Look before you leap.............................................................

ju吳phe宇te佳ns said...

Knowledge is power.............................................................

王彥李威昌霖 said...

路過看到好的blog,來留言湊個熱鬧............................................................

靜容林 said...

與人相處不妨多用眼睛說話,多用嘴巴思考. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

治冠霖士 said...

Pen and ink is wits plough...................................................................

王辛江淑萍康 said...

喜歡自己的另一層意義是「接納自己」。..................................................

文王廷 said...

一個人的價值,應該看他貢獻了什麼,而不是他取得了什麼.................................................................

佳陳生 said...

心中醒,口中說,紙上作,不從身上習過,皆無用也。..................................................

冠霖林冠霖林冠霖林 said...

很精彩的部落格 期待你的繼續加油............................................................

said...

真得很不錯的blog,加油哦............................................................

翊翊翊翊張瑜翊翊翊 said...

Necessity is the mother of invention..................................................................

俊王王王王霖王王 said...

好熱鬧喔 大家踴躍的留言 讓部落格更有活力..................................................

祁聿雨 said...

好看耶~一定每天有空給你支持..................................................

Hummie said...

You need to blog some more! lol...this is an old post! Just trying to return comments from my blog.