Sunday, November 20, 2011

A Year of Photos


November 17, 2010 marked the beginning of a photographic journey that has forever changed how I see. It has been a year that improved my technical and composition skills as well as my ability to define a vision and execute it photographically.

In 2010, I was invited by Tim Stoklas to participate in a Photo 365 project. This was a birthday gift to himself but I feel he provided a greater gift to those he asked to participate. It has been a powerful experience for me and I am thankful I was given the opportunity to participate.

Photography has always been a strong interest of mine. From participating in a patched together photo club in high school to entertaining thoughts of being a professional photographer during my college years. Of course, life takes over and most of my photo endeavors disappeared until about 5 years ago where I reintroduced myself to a lost hobby. I've made a lot of progress in the last 5 years but the whirlwind of life always seems to limit time available to make progress. A Photo 365 project changes that. It creates focus along with a pressure to shoot every single day. And with very few exceptions I shot every single day throughout the Photo 365 project.

I think the biggest impact for me is that there are no excuses for not shooting. Prior to this project I often thought I had to "go" somewhere to take photos. This project forced me to see the wonder of everyday objects, things that are sitting right right in front of me which so often go unnoticed. I now have a much greater awareness of all things around me. From the windings of a guitar string to my wife's watercolor paint bucket, life is full of interest all around.

This project pushed my creativity as I didn't want to settle for just a picture. Certainly, out of 365 days, you will find what most of us would call a "picture" but more often than not I tried to push myself to do something just a little bit better. I pushed by trying different perspectives, trying new techniques, and going after shots I had always planned to do but just never got around to doing. Here are some of my favorites where I learned new technical skills.

This group has been so inspirational with great talent and a continuous stream of photographic ideas. The group's members often influenced my upcoming shots. I also found that I learned a lot from the group and it made me realize working with others creates a rich learning environment. If you can participate in something like this then please do. If that's not possible then pick up photo books from the greats and figure out what made their work excellent and learn from it. Continually learning and practicing new skills will create the foundation needed to find your own style and eye.

The journey has ended and I'm feeling a bit melancholy. There has been a sense of comradely and excitement born of the expectation of a shot each day, dialog within the group, and the excitement of seeing each others work which helped to keep the whirlwind at bay. I find that I'm not alone in that sentiment and our group has decided to take a small break and then start the Photo 365 project again next year. We will continue our journey starting January 1st and until then I'll take this time to reflect upon what was learned and prepare for the continued journey. In the meantime check out my shots from the year either on Flickr or Facebook (part1, part2) and this video which is a collage of my shots from this last year.

See you January 1st!!!