To all ye who want to paint with light ...

I should have started this blog many moons ago as I started experiencing the joys of rediscovering the art of photography. But as the saying goes - it's better late, than never!
So, here I am, in the hopes of recording what I learn as I progress from ignorance to enlightenment; about what my eyes can see that my camera can capture; and, what my mind imagines and my camera paints with its capabilities.

Please feel free to add any comments and share your wisdom (tips or tricks) that you have picked up along the way.

And do check out my How-To and Birding pages as well.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Looking Back on the Photo 365 Project and Going Forward

(Image shot in Ottawa - the giant iron spider titled "Maman", a monumental sculpture by Louise Bourgeois.)

It's been a few days since I posted my last shot to the project and it's given me a little time to ruminate over this.  I can't say I feel much different, because I'm still picking up my camera almost every single day.  I had to consciously stop myself from doing that when I went out for a walk with my friend the other day - I wanted to see the world through my own cataract afflicted eyes, instead of at a 15x magnification through my lens.  Let's just get this straight - I have poor vision (ok, the cataract was a bit of an exaggeration for now) and I realized I was using my camera as a visual crutch!

About a year and half ago, I wanted to start learning some hardcore stuff when I realized that I had too much spare time on my hands and it was too dangerous for my own good.  So, what did I do?  I decided to go out and buy myself my 55 - 250 mm lens and just start doing something.

Even after the purchase, I went for days without taking a shot, and then suddenly I would come home with a few hundred of them.  I realized I needed to keep at this on a more regular basis.  That's when  I got myself reading - I read a lot!  I went through Flickr images - hundreds of them in a day.  I started buying books to read.  And then, before I realized it, I had made myself a sacrificial lamb unto myself - I promised I would take pictures everyday, for a year!  I remember that fateful day like it was yesterday.  And so the journey began!

The first thing I learned about photography was that it's not easy!  It's not easy to take a picture and then like it after 24 hrs.  There are only a few images that I still like to go back to and think they're pretty darn good!

The first thing I learned about the 365 project was it was the most difficult thing to find an interesting subject everyday.  As much as I love the outdoors and Nature, living in a country with frigid temperatures and snow on the ground for more than five months in a year, you had to start thinking outside the box.  And that's when I started thinking of tea strainers, cheese graters, food, aluminum foil, and what have you!

The second thing I learned about both photography and the project was that you needed patience - a lot of patience!  Mind you, since  it was my first DSLR, I had to learn the camera settings, the basics of photography and then how to marry all that together before tripping the shutter.  Now when I look back on the first several images, I balk at them!  Utterly horrifying!

I guess the most important lesson I learned was that it was okay to cut yourself some slack.  I'm the kind of person who never takes a project that I know I can't handle.  However, when I started this project, I didn't take into account the facts that I had a very stressful job, a home, a kid and my not-so-great health to contend with, all on my own.  I thought it would be a breeze - but it soon changed tack and became more like a tornado, trying to suck me into its vortex.  I was terrified I'd give up!  Fortunately, I had a host of friends and fellow-bloggers standing on the sidelines to cheer me on towards the finish line.

The biggest surprise by far was how I easily got bogged down with too many different things, and a lot of times I was too drained to even lift my camera, leave alone think of doing the shot of the day.  I have to admit that this took a lot longer than it should have, but I didn't want to give up and a lot of you gave me the good counsel that it was okay to slow it down a bit.

Besides that, one of my Flickr contacts, Shotslot, opened my eyes to the fact that no matter how down you are, you need to forge ahead with your commitment.  He's an amazing photographer and blogger, and he never once wavered in his commitment to his 365 project despite suffering a heart attack - he took shots every single day even while he was in hospital.  My friend Jim sent me links to where I could look  for ideas for my project.

When you look around and find these sources of inspiration, how can you give up?  Maybe give in a bit, but you can never give up!  I've tried to always remain positive, within the project, and even in my personal life, and my blogger as well as real life friends kept me on track.

Would I do this again?  I don't think so!  It became an all-consuming thing for me where I would sometimes neglect health and home to get the shot of the day.  That's over!  Now I don't feel guilty anymore for vegging out on the couch and staring at the TV screen.  I was probably smoking some very cheap weed when I thought I could take pictures everyday.  But the good thing that came of it is - I know I've learned it all on my own, through trial and error, one baby step at a step.  And these lessons one never forgets!

Going forward, I plan to start a few projects - one of which I've already set up - a couple of friends and I are planning to collaborate on it.  I'm not sure if I'm at liberty to share that at this moment, but I do definitely have a long wishlist of other projects, the most important ones being food photography, and portraiture.  Another project I have is to set up a page on my birding experiences.

So, stay tuned!  I will be starting them in the next couple of weeks or so.  Since summer's here, I'm trying to enjoy the outdoors as much as I can, despite allergies, viral infections, asthma and what have you!  I have promised myself to not let anything come in my way of enjoying the warm season that's always so short here in Canada.

Last, but not least, thank you once again for being around and it's now time to move on!

(Taken in Ottawa - this image was shot from the hip)

1 comment:

  1. While reading the summary of your journey, I was able to gain so many lessons that is really very helpful to me as I continue on with this task. I appreciate you for sharing it to your readers. Thank you for the inspiration. :)