Along with 58 other people on the 365 (now 366) Photo group in Flickr, I joined the quest in 2008 to hunt down an image a day for the entire year. Others on the project shot brilliantly creative pieces … true works of art. Checking out their uploads was a source of constant inspiration.
It’s all over now for 2008, but I’ve been spurred on to put last year’s project to bed by two fellow travellers on the project – D’Arcy Norman and Dean Shareski. D’Arcy and Dean have written terrific roundups of their experiences. Here’s my own report card …
I uploaded a total of 533 photos to Flickr during the year, and posted to Flickr on 206 days. These numbers are interesting. Whilst I did not shoot every day, I did grab lots on those other days, so in a sense, one of the ideas behind the project – to keep at our photography – was fulfilled. I didn’t post to Flickr or the group every day, though I did try … my failure to get them to the group on quite a few of the days in the year has more to do with my own lack of organisation – or being out of computer reach – than anything else.
Some months’ posts are larger than others and reflect big events during a particular month. The average monthly post in 2008 was just over 44. There are spikes in the graph for January (beginner’s enthusiasm), April (a theatre production I was in), and August when I uploaded 123 photos on my return from a European holiday. The mini-spike of 48 in July also came from that marvellously picturesque holiday that took in Greece and Turkey, Paris, and London.
More important than mere numbers was the fact that I started looking more closely at the world around me, at the details of the mundane, and also at the ‘big picture.’ I tried to shoot the intriguing, the silly, the lovely, the breathtaking for all kinds of reasons, but mostly to engage the sense memory we all have … to bring back the moment captured by the visual. That’s what photos are for me … memories rather than little works of art. Along the way I found out that I have a bit of a passion for labels and signs … must be the latent designer in me. I also found a way to ‘keep’ favourite old tee-shirts that have given up the ghost – did I mention I am a pack-rat? I have a small but growing set that reflects one of my passions – theatre images from around the world. And when I was desperate for a shot, I grabbed the view from my back deck. As the time of day and the seasons change, that view never fails to please.
Thinking like a photographer
I guess you could say that during the year I began to take my photography a little more seriously. Whilst I’ve had a camera since I was 11, I hadn’t really dug into the digital thing with much enthusiasm. I came to realise how useful that stuff called digital ‘metadata’ could be. Largely driven by this project and Flickr’s ease of use, I began to organise my images into sets ordered by month or whatever else I chose.
The nightmare of losing images is one most photographers think about a lot of the time, so backup and appropriate storage needed attention. Mine now sit nicely batched into sets and collections, all primly tagged in a backup hard drive volume. They also live in my iPhoto Library, and of course out there in the cloud on Flickr. Whilst I’ve always had a camera starting with a Kodak Box Brownie, I knew next to nothing about digital image capture and editing even after getting my first digital point and shoot camera about 5 years ago; a Minolta D’Image … sweet thing. Last year I subscribe to the DPS Newsletter from the DPS blog, listened to podcasts like TWiP and took inspiration from the fantastic photojournalistic work in sites like the Big Picture from boston.com.
I started learning Photoshop Elements to help with editing. I still like the idea of getting a photo as close to perfect as I can in the taking. I find it really satisfying when I get to upload an image as it comes out of the camera. That isn’t to say I don’t enjoy pushing the images in ways that only Photoshop can do. However, not many of these are in my Flickr photostream. By the way I also discovered Skitch. If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to grab and share images, then you can’t do much better than this nifty little application, especially as Skitch is free.
For the record, I used a Nikon D40, a Minolta D’image and a Nikon Coolpix L16 to capture my 2008 images. When it came to grabbing a screen shot, usually the trusty ‘Shift/Command/4’ command would grab and crop bits from my computer screen.
The stuff I shoot … whether screen grabs or through the lens … is reflected via my tagging system. Overwhelmingly it reflects my own small world and lifestyle. I guess that’s the way it is for amateur photographers. My family, my home, the garden projects, objects that float in and out of my life, pets, travel shots. Nothing dramatic … just what catches the eye.
This image has been viewed the most.
This photo is among my favourites.
I print out very few images except for one or two as cards to friends far off or those without a computer. I selected lots from around the place to use as images on my Moo cards. They get lots of comments.
And finally, here’s a little Animoto moving postcard to capture the best memories in images of 2008.
I’m not sure I will be joining in this year’s project but with a habit started it’s going to be hard to break it.