tackling a photo a day 2009 – part 1

I’d mentioned trying to get in a couple more updates before winding down on prophotolife so I sure want to follow through. This post is split into two parts: today I’ll mention some of the more philosophical things I’m realizing from starting the photo a day 2009 project. Next week, in part two, I’ll share a bunch of the technical things I’ve learned from working with the new camera and website.

talkingtonphotovideo_capturSince we all enjoy learning about photography it seems a natural to share what I’m learning from starting the photo a day 2009 blog (Talkington Photo Video). What is there to learn? Well, a new blogging program, new processing software and a new camera and lenses. If there’s not something there to learn then I’m definitely not paying attention!

This is pretty much the way I learn. We all have different methods for what works best for us as individuals and clearly defined goals are effective for me. “Photo a day” is perfect for that. There are a number of things on my “I’d like to do that someday” list…and that’s just when they’ll get done: someday. But, hey, announce to the world you’re going to start a project on January 1 and now there’s a greater sense of obligation, a purpose beyond my own learning.

Online photo sharing is still relatively young but it’s dramatically changed the way photographers interact. We’ve become accustomed to showing our photographs and we all enjoy receiving kudos for a nice image. The approval of others can lift us to new heights and the sharing of ideas is an incredible boon. For instance, yz (a photo blogging inspiration) suggested I print one of my abstracts really large. Hmmm, I hardly ever print large but that’s a really cool idea and it has me thinking in completely new ways. That’s one of the really enjoyable things about such a photo project (and it’s nice we’re still talking about printing in this online age…I was starting to forget about printing!).

But, when you’re trying to post 365 new photos in a row, they’re not all going to be winners. There are going to be photos that are part of a process that aren’t finished works of art, they’re just steps along the way to improving as a photographer. While it’s nice to produce work enjoyed and understood by others, sometimes you have to do like that old proverb, just put it out there and “dance like there’s no one watching”. Those are some of the most important images of all.

Trying to achieve a photo goal like this is also not just about the photographs. I realize that 365 photos aren’t just 365 photos. Hopefully, they’re also a wide range of experiences and recollections. Photography has given me many gifts in the form of personal experience.

For instance, I’ve never watched The Surgery Channel and often turn my head at blood and gore in movies. But I’ve had no problem photographing in an operating room, framing incisions and complicated procedures through the lens of a camera. The camera has done that for me.

Extreme heights are something else I’m not particularly fond of, yet I’ve leaned out the side of a plane with the door removed with no problems, all because a camera was in my hands. Go figure.

Who knows? We’re only 3 days into the new year as of this writing but I’m certain that 362 photos from now I’ll have enjoyed some new experiences as a result of photo a day. I don’t plan on hanging out of any planes in the coming year but even seeing my own neighborhood in a new way would be reward enough. Maybe it will be a year of new visions, maybe a year of refinements.

Next week in part 2 I’ll share some of the technical things I’m learning from the initial experience regarding the Olympus E520 and lenses, Pixel Post and Adobe Photoshop Lightroom!.