"It's easy to look at what is achievable in a single day and always come up short. But it is just as easy to underestimate what you can accomplish in a year."
~ Christina Rosalie, a field guide to NOW
I began my 365 photography project purely on a whim. I took one picture that moved me deeply for no explainable reason on September 3, 2017. A year of heart-moving photographs seemed like the personal growth project I needed.
I chose the constraint of the Lensbaby Velvet 56 Lens for the project. The soft dreamy feel that the Velvet 56 gives images was perfect for what I hoped the project would become. I am a big fan of prime lenses, preferring to move myself instead of the lens. Also, having to manually set the aperture and focus, allowed me to compose better within the frame.
I had grand plans of being a different photographer these 365 days, one who photographed the people in her life on a regular basis, capturing special moments and daily life. And for a while I did good, of the 365 photos, 42 photographs have people. Half of those 42 were from my self-portrait photography phase. Only 14 photos were strictly of Findley, the granddog, which is pretty good, since he is a willing poser. That still leaves over 300 photos that were no different than the other 30,000 that have made me the photographer I have always been.
What I realized doing this 365 project, is that I spent too much time focused on getting the best possible shot for the day. How many little things did I miss? The bird songs in the air, the waves lapping on the beach, the ducks swimming with their babies in the channel. How many shots on my camera card did I dismiss because they weren't the very best shot that day?
Recently, I turned down the opportunity to go to Tuscany next May for a photography workshop. I woke up the morning after I had convinced my husband that it would be great idea, and said, "Don't worry, we aren't going to Tuscany." What I realized while I was sleeping is that I didn't want to spend our vacation solely focused on photography. I had just spent the last 365 days getting up every morning and thinking about getting a photo, I didn't want to spend our first trip to Italy with that same thought process.
Some people take adventures strictly so they can photograph. I am one who loves adventure for the sake of adventure, and I'll take some photos along the way to help tell the story. That doesn't mean that I don't strive for the best possible photos while telling the story. I would just prefer to stumble upon the shots than have to be hunting them every single day.
So in the end, I really am the same photographer that I was when I started. What this project showed me is that I love being that photographer.
I am experiencing some withdrawal from this daily shooting, wandering around in the morning not knowing what to do with myself. So, instead of doing short walks carrying a heavy camera, I am leaving the gear at home and taking longer hikes in the woods. This is especially appealing now that the temperature at night is getting down into the 50's. The mornings are pleasantly cool and bug free. Not everything needs to be photographed, some of life just needs to be lived.