Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Project 365 In Review

Today's the day! Today I've completed my Project 365. :-) Yeah for me. I'm pleased to have seen this project through to completion. As expected, there were days I didn't feel like taking pictures... but not as many as I thought there'd be. There were days when I was ashamed of the picture I was posting that day... far too many of those. And there were days when I struggled with the purpose of the project... most of those were early on. I learned from this experience but I'm not sure that what I learned was what was intended by the originator of the Project 365 concept. I definitely think a review of my past year of photography is in order, so here goes.

To begin with, the goal of a "Project 365" is to get you to pick up your camera every day and take an "interesting picture", essentially forcing you to try to be creative on a daily basis. The thought being that with practice, one would become a better photographer at the end of 365 days. That sounded fun in the beginning but before long I realized that from a practical standpoint that just wasn't going to work for me. The problems were time and energy. Some days I was just too busy with other things to even think about photography. I'd find myself trying to think of something interesting to shoot at the end of the day, sometimes 11pm or later, when I all I really wanted to do was fall into bed and get some sleep. It's hard to be creative when you're just plain tired.

After struggling with how to proceed once I realized that I couldn't make time to be as creative as I liked on a daily basis, I settled on having my Project 365 be more or less a visual diary of my life for one year. This concept was a better fit, although not a perfect one. The biggest problem was that I often photograph people, people close to me... family members, neighbors, friends, etc. and I didn't feel comfortable posting their pictures on my very public blog. So what I've posted on my blog are (with a couple exceptions) the safe-to-post photos, which means I haven't shared what I consider to be some of my very best photos of the year. And my life revolves more around people than you would ever guess from the photos in my Project 365. So it doesn't really represent a day-in-my-life all that well either.

Have I become a better photographer 365 days later? You tell me. I welcome your comments and criticisms.You can take a look back at my year of photos and tell me if you think my photography has improved over the past year. I don't see it. Don't get me wrong, I like what I see. I'm proud of my photography (some of it anyway ;-) but if I compared these photos to the cream of the crop of what I shot in 2010 I don't think I'd see much improvement. On any given day/photo shoot, I'll shoot mostly average pics, a couple really good pics, and a few "schlock" pics. There have been a few times, every year, when I get to shooting something and I just know that I'm going to have a day full of really good photos... when I almost can't take a bad pic. Those days are heaven. They are exciting! They are also few and far between.

Just for the heck of it, I sat down and looked over my pics from the last 365 days and rated them as good/great or just plain schlock. My guess was that 25% of what I posted fell into the schlock category and should never have been posted publicly. When I looked over my ratings I found that I'd only placed 20% in the schlock category, so I guess I did a little better than I thought I did. But regardless, I don't want to continue on this way on this blog.

I should mention that I did learn a bit about photo-blogging. One of the main things I've learned is that as of the end of the year I have 11 loyal followers, up from 8 when I started Photography Gene a year ago, lol! That statistic was a bit sobering for me. I'm used to Creative Gene where I have 300+ loyal followers and that number continues to grow even though I don't post as regularly there as I used to. I would have thought that over the course of 365 days I would have picked up more than 3 followers... especially since this summer when Google+ was born and I started posting links to my better photos as "public". Mind you, it was never my goal to develop a greater following. I'm just surprised it didn't happen of it's own accord with time.

This would be a good time for me to thank my 11 very devoted followers! I really appreciate your thoughtful comments!!! It would have been a very lonely 365 days without you. I must admit, there were some photos I thought were worthy of comment that didn't receive any but then there were a lot of photos that I didn't think I'd get any comments on and I did. It was often a surprise to me which photos got comments and which didn't. Thank you for that element of mystery. It kept me on my toes, lol!

To wrap up, I'm going to list a few things I discovered over the course of my Project 365. I'll probably write more about these things in future posts here on this blog.

  • I like shooting butterflies.
  • My pets always offer their best poses in front of the pile of laundry I haven't folded yet and I don't want anyone to see (it's clean though, really! ;-) .
  • I never tire of shooting Lake Michigan, lighthouses, sailboats, sunsets, or my husband. If I had to pick my favorite subjects, those would be them.
  • Tripods aren't the enemy to be avoided at all costs. (I really should get a better one. They are not all created equal.)
  • New cameras are very inspirational. Everyone should get at least one every year. (I got 2 in 2011)
  • Birds, besides ducks, geese, swans, and gulls, are very tricky to photograph well. They never hold still, they prefer to be in the shade rather than in the sun, and they prefer to be in trees surrounded by branches that my camera prefers to focus on. 
  • I get bored pretty quickly with "staged" photography. 
  • If I get more than a week behind in tagging my photos I'm gonna dread the process of catching up. 
  • I don't do enough black and white photography (or post processing into black and white).
  • Someone needs to invent wall-size picture frames that have easy-opening backs so photographers can change out their pics often without having to bruise their fingers or frequently buy new frames.
  • The best camera really is the one you have with you. Some of my best and favorite pics were taken with my point & shoot camera. 
So that's it then. The Project 365 comes to an end. It's been fun. It's been challenging. It's been rewarding. I'm glad I did it and I'm glad it's done. Would I do it again? I just might. But not right now. Now I'm moving on to something different on this blog. Stay tuned!


  1. You did beautifully and should be proud of yourself. I followed each and every post and particularly liked the butterfly photos and the ones of your pets. Kaj is a dream when it comes to posing; if only Chloe would do the same.

  2. Thank you, Cheryl. It's nice to know that you were following my pics all along. Kaj is pretty good when I need him to pose... particularly if I have a treat of some kind in my hand. ;-)

    My butterfly pics are among my favorites from last year. I'm really looking forward to next summer when the butterfly bushes will bloom again and those lovely butterflies will come visiting. :-)

  3. Your butterfly pics were beautiful, they are my favorite but I have to say, I thought all of your photos were good, I love your lighthouse pics and just put myself there many times . . . I have a long long way to go and and I did give into the "I don't feel creative today" stuff and then life gets in the way too. I too followed you, didn't always comment but I was there! I will miss seeing your daily photos, I always looked forward to them . . . I have decided on my photo blog that if I have a photo I think is decent, I will post it but it won't be everyday . . . I'm not happy with the quality of mine. Your a great photographer, Jasia and thank you for sharing a part of you in the last 365 days.

  4. Oh Gini, thank you for your very kind comment! I still expect to be posting to my blog often, but hopefully you won't be seeing anymore of the "schlock" pics, lol! More on my plans for this blog coming in a post later today.

  5. An interesting review. On Sunday while hubby sleeps from working nights I am going to sit and look at your 365 photos.

    I like the concept of recording a pictorial history. One that can be perhaps exported and published for the future.

    I struggle with the official 365 website - it is not compatible with the iphone App and that lack of ease was why I stopped the project last year. I didn't occur to me to create a blog, no idea why it didn't when I blog every day. So I shall record on my new brand spanking new blog - shameless plug! and see where that leads.

    For me the project is to take with ease a photo a day of something that means something to me. So far I have not added comments to my photos. Perhaps I should.

    I'll sleep on (I better had it is the early hours here in the UK!)

  6. Well done, Jasia. All in all, I think you had a successful year. I always find it amazing that the photos/posts I think will get comments don't and wonder about those that do... LOL. I think I'll stick around for another year to see what you come up with!