Reflections on a 365

When I first contemplated attempting a Project 365, it seemed like a serious undertaking.  Being a little bit neurotic, once I take a thing on, I feel obligated to finish.  I was right – it was a huge project.  It was overwhelming, and I often experienced a looming feeling that was ridiculous, as this was a self-imposed deadline.  Having read many photographer’s thoughts on their own 365 projects, I knew it would be hard, but decided to go for it because of one comment.  I can’t even remember who said it, but she advised a mom like me not to wait until her kids were gone to attempt it because the whole purpose of this idea is to document life. The life I’m living right now with kids, which I really want to remember.  I agreed with her, so I plunged in.  I expected to grow immensely as a photographer, find new creativity as I wore out my old standbys, learn hundreds of new skills, and grow to a place where every shot I took was a masterpiece.  Here is the reality of my experience:

Over 2/3 of these photos are not necessarily ones I am proud of, or would normally post to be displayed.  And, I had a harder time picking a top ten this year than I did before.  Not because there are more photos to choose from (though I have taken thousands more pictures this year), but because there seem to be fewer of high quality.  The level of creativity seemed to go down rather than up, as I often ended up just trying to get a shot in for the day, rather than taking a picture when I felt inspired.

There is a silver lining!  I shot in manual nearly every time after May-ish.  That is a breakthrough for me.  I had ventured into manual before, but I wasn’t confident there.  I have magically reached that point that I had so often read about where I can meter a light situation quickly and make an educated guess at my starting point for settings.  I can often get it pretty close on my first shot.  This is huge.  If for no other reason, the project was probably worth it for this.

I also learned that the LCD screen on my camera is significantly brighter than on my calibrated computer monitor.  I might not have figured that out if I wasn’t constantly downloading so closely to the time I shot.  I am beginning to figure out how much to accommodate for that as I shoot.  That has to count for something, right?

I have a wonderful record of the day-t0-day with my kids.  I love looking through these pictures.  Sure, they’re not all “wall-worthy,” but this is my life, and I love it.  Was it worth it?  Yes.  I’m very glad I did it. Will I do it again?  Not for a very long time.  Until then, please check me out on my normal photography blog.  I hope to do a lot more there with the extra time I am not spending here!  Thank you for your support over this year.  Your comments kept me going!



365/365: LAST DAY!! Happy New Year!


Sparkling Cider with the kids.  They stayed up all the way to the New Year.  And not one second longer:


Giraffe didn’t even make it all the way into the bed before he was out.


358/365: Merry Christmas!

This year for Christmas I took some advice and tried something new.  I set the camera up on a tripod, kept my remote in hand (next year maybe I’ll invest in the one that does interval timing), and clicked away from a distance.  I loved it.  I have to admit that there isn’t a lot of variety in the photos, and none of them will win any awards.  But I’m in them!  And when the whole scene was already framed in the camera, all I had to do was click.  It was so easy to catch everything.  No standing on my head to get the shot, or putting a camera in the kids’ faces and forcing the smile.  Just pure family Christmas, as it really is.  Perfect.


This first one catches my favorite tradition, adopted from my own family growing up.  The kids draw a name, choose a present, and try to serve the sibling they chose for the weeks before Christmas.  This is the time they really learn what Christmas is really about.  This shot caught the pure glee on my Guy’s face as his sister found there was more that one layer of wrapping on the present he gave her.  (There were actually four!)


Pure excitement in my Little Man when he opened his Husky colored Superman shirt.  (Isn’t that the best of all worlds?)


I was able to be right there when my Guy opened the special pens he had been eyeing for months.


And capture these looks across the kids when something went right.


And sit with my Little Buddy in my lap for most of the morning.


And I wouldn’t miss this for all the world!