My 365 Day Project: What I’ve Learned So Far

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The theory goes as follows: capture and post one photo per day for an entire year and you will become a better photographer.  Becoming a better photographer is accomplished through a process of “learning to see” more actively, more intentionally and more consistently.  I thought I would put that theory to the test.

I began precisely 127 days ago today and posted on the world’s largest stage (for this purpose that is): Instagram.  This is the $1B stage that Facebook bought a few years ago and so integration (i.e., cross-posting) to Facebook is a breeze.  When I started, though I contemplated long and hard first, I proceeded with little fanfare, no real announcement and since we began fathersonphoto.com around the same time, I decided to use the mysterious marker #fsp365 to tie all images together.  Results are at Instagram – @reybabes.

My initial intention ended up becoming a reach goal: to carry a capable camera with me everywhere, to capture scenes from my daily life, to properly process them on my home workstation and then to post before midnight.  But then there’s reality too…

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As a person with a full-time day job, I have found that it hasn’t always been easy to move about with said proper camera in tow.  I wear a suit, carry a laptop, walk from conference room to conference room… and I have found that my camera was either too much to lug around or too off-putting to my colleagues.  No one wants to have a camera pointed at them during a serious business meeting and so I never mustered up enough courage to try.  As such, this has become largely a cellphone camera endeavor.  I estimate that roughly 4 in 5 shots originate from my phone, are processed there and are posted straight up from it.  The small minority remaining are from a camera.

Also, I have traveled for work a few times during the past few months and though I worried that I would not be able to continue on, those destinations (Abu Dhabi and Amelia Island) were sufficiently accommodating.

So… have I become a better photographer?  I’m not sure… but I do know that I have learned a few things along the way.

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Some of those lessons learned include:

  1.  There’s not a lot of capability/quality lost by shooting only with a phone.  I know that the files won’t stand up to much pixel beating and I’m unlikely to process them toward eventual exhibit quality status, but for this purpose… no problem.
  2. Most days, it’s fun.  I do search around me thinking frequently about that “one shot”.  There are days (walking around a Middle Eastern spice market, for example) when I end up with many to choose from.  And there are days when in the normal seemingly mundane environment within which I live and work, I see true beauty and appreciate that this project helps me to find it.
  3. Then there are those other days as well.  Thankfully, these are relatively few and far between.  You know those days… busy from sun up to down, hectic, fast-paced, full.  On those days, I have found myself walking up to my bedroom at 11:45pm only to remember… dang!
  4. One never knows what the year can bring.  There have been a few curveballs thrown in over the past few months and I find myself wondering whether my quest and my commitment are up to the challenge of sticking with this no matter what comes next.  Could this desire to develop my photographic eye veer away from a fine art orientation to a photojournalistic one?  Will I keep with this no matter what?  Stay tuned.
  5. Am I seeing any differently?  Still fairly early in the process but I would have to say… yes, I think so.  The very act of keeping this 365 project top of mind does push me to hunt for compositions… to consider leading lines, the rule of thirds, movement.  As a photographer, I typically do this anyways.  But this project is making me do this more.  And that is probably a good thing.

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Instagram: @reybabes

127 days and counting…

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