A photo a day opens your eyes: 2008, my cameras and me

Medium and Message
Image by Dramagirl via Flickr

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 …

The Metrics

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 Shots

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 was my first photo for 2008, and this my last. See … domestic things, but beautiful in their uniqueness.

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.

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Author: Kate Wilson

Actor, director, teacher, dabbler with paint, serial traveller.

7 thoughts on “A photo a day opens your eyes: 2008, my cameras and me”

  1. Kate, I love this post. I have read Dean’s and Bud Hunt’s posts on this topic too and it has really inspired me. I am in the twitter365 and the flickr365 groups for 2009 now. We’ll see how it goes.

  2. I think it’s great that you can participate to whatever degree you wish. The other thing that’s just clicking in now is that you were dramagirl on flickr. I didn’t make that connection until now.

    I did find that I had a special bond with those who posted daily. If I recall correctly, you’d often post several photos at a time and I remember you had some great images, I just found I got to know people’s style better when they posted a single photo daily.

    Again, I think everyone should post and use it however they like, but that’s just my observation.

    Hope to see more of your great stuff this year.

    Dean Shareski’s last blog post..366 Days of Photos

  3. I’ve really enjoyed your photo’s throughout the year. I’d love to do the 365 thing, presently allow myself a Friday morning snapping round the garden (amongst other snapshots!) but want to make that precious time to do more… It’ll happen am sure. My eyes have been opened up to the joys of Flickr so much during 2008 – I hadn’t realised how wonderful flickr could be for sharing and networking.
    Keep taking those wonderful shots! Always a joy to see from here in the UK!

    Laura Whitehead’s last blog post..Amy’s here to get Netsquared up and running here in the UK

  4. Kia ora Kate

    Love the Scott Joplin music in the slidshow!
    I also love your last pic. I adore sunflowers.
    They speak of summer!

    Best wishes for the rest of 2009!
    from Middle-earth

    Ken Allan’s last blog post..Suck It And See

  5. Cheers Ken. The garden is blooming with the biggest, loveliest cheeriest sunflowers right now. I think I might just post one here just for you.

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