Project 365 Complete--What Next?

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by TwoWheels, May 21, 2015.

  1. TwoWheels

    TwoWheels Mu-43 Top Veteran

    679
    May 28, 2014
    British Columbia
    Evan
    I finished my Project 365 yesterday! It’s hard for me to believe I made it, but I’ve taken a picture every day for the last year. It’s been a great experience that I highly recommend. I thought I’d post a few observations and then pose a question about what comes next. I'll also add a few random photos from the year, but realize that trying to narrow the year down to six or eight pictures and calling them my favourites or the best is impossible.

    The benefits are many. I took roughly five times as many photos over the last year as I did the previous year. From that came a comfort with my cameras, software and processing that I didn’t have before. My composition skills improved, significantly I think. More importantly, I learned to take notice of the world around me. I explored new places in pursuit of photo opportunities. It took me from thinking about photography when I went on a trip to thinking about it every day. My GM1 was invaluable as it went everywhere with me. I documented my life much better than in the past--family, travel, friends, events, etc. It was also a daily challenge that gave me something to work toward rather than just existing in the day-to-day cycle of work, eat, sleep, repeat.

    The downside of doing a Project 365? It does require a single-minded focus (sorry) and discipline. I tend to be goal-oriented and do well with structure, so it worked well for me. Most of the time it was something I looked forward to rather than something I dreaded. For a little while every day, whether it was moments or hours, the stress of life faded and I could just pursue and create a photograph. I'll also add that posting on the Equinox and Daily Challenge threads on this forum the last couple months made it more enjoyable. There are many talented, interesting and helpful people here.

    My favourite photos from the year are turning out to be the ones of family, friends, travel and adventures. Yes, I have some landscapes, flowers, etc. that I think turned out very well. But the ones that make me smile are the photos of my kids, pets, travel, mountain biking and hiking—the photos with great memories rather than just great composition.

    I’m ready for a break, but I’m wondering where I go from here to maintain the momentum. I don’t want to start another 365, but I would like to give myself a goal or some structure. Here are some ideas I’ve had:

    · Photograph every location/hike in a local/regional guidebook over the course of a year.

    · Set up a series of monthly challenges for myself for things I enjoy or want to improve. Alternatively, I believe there are some websites that have organized challenges.

    · Set an objective of taking more and better “memory” photos to document my life, a photo journal of sorts.

    · Somehow challenge myself to work on my biggest weaknesses—photographing people.

    What ideas do you have? Have you seen any challenges or projects that seem relevant that you could suggest?

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  2. Chazzz

    Chazzz Mu-43 Regular

    115
    Sep 2, 2010
    Washington State
    When I did my 365 Project in 2013, I started out thinking I was just going to take snapshots everyday. But within the first few days, I was already in "composition" mode. My January was pretty random. But beginning in February, I started using themes. Since February had Valentine's Day, I did "Two Weeks of Love", which actually ran 22 or 23 days of that month. But the rest of the months, a theme would control the photos for the entire month. I did National Poetry Month, taking photos of people (which I rarely shoot) with signs I made for the respective photos (and related poems) for April.

    Other themes included:
    • "Macro May" — each shot had to be a macro, obviously
    • "June by the Numbers" — each shot had to contain the number of the day of the month in some form
    • "Red, White, and/or Blue" (July) — each shot had to feature one, two or all three of the colors (U.S. Independence Day/July 4 was the reason for that)
    • "Hot August Nights" — each shot had to be taken sometime in the evening, but not necessarily the dark
    • "September Sights" — this was actually a bit of a break where I just had to try to see/find something and capture it. I knew what I had planned for October, so I wanted a little breathing room. This was still a bit challenging because I did a lot of driving and walking trying to find new things. With the exception of the first day, I decided to use my GX1 for the entire month, typically with the 20mm f/1.7 lens.
    • "October Feast" — food and only food, and actually, with only a few exceptions, food that I made myself
    • "30 Shades of Grey" (November) — Only black and white photos
    • "Final Countdown" (December) — Each photo had to have the number of the days/photos remaining for the year.

    Having said that, if you haven't done something like themes for a month, I'd challenge you to do that. But, if you want to go almost ridiculously hard core, you might take a cue from Woody Campbell, who decided he would blow the doors off a 365 project and take a picture every day for the rest of his life. woodycampbell.com and/or twitter.

    My 365 Project can be seen here on flickr. I used my Nikons for most of the photos, but did use a GF1, GX1 and GX7 for some.

    Congratulations on your project! Best of luck on your next challenges!

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    365 Days Project - Day 8

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    365 Days Project - Day 122 - “Macro-May” Day 2

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    365 Days Project - Day 222: Hot August Nights #10 - Sky Fire

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    365 Days Project - Day 250: September Sights #7 - Falling Fall Fallen #2

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    365 Days Project - Day 261: September Sights #18 - Hope Springs Eternal
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2015
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  3. tyrphoto

    tyrphoto Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 25, 2014
    Seoul | NYC
    ㅇtㅈyㅅr
    Congrats again on the 365. Something that takes a little less commitment but is also pretty grueling is to do a 24 hour challenge where you must take one photo each our and end up with a 24 image set. You can further refine this by having a theme or by requiring that all photos be taken outside.
     
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  4. Phocal

    Phocal Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 3, 2014
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  5. RKStarr

    RKStarr Mu-43 Regular

    One challenge I've considered is to limit myself to a certain prime lens for a period of time in order to learn all it's nuances and to push beyond the compositional limitations a fixed focal length imposes.
     
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  6. TwoWheels

    TwoWheels Mu-43 Top Veteran

    679
    May 28, 2014
    British Columbia
    Evan
    That's impressive! I thought just taking a decent photo each day was challenging, but focusing on specific themes is definitely taking it up a notch. I love the dandelion shot.

    That looks interesting, whether for ideas or actually participating. Thanks for the link.

    That's been on my radar screen too. I think it would be a useful exercise.

    That would be grueling but uniquely challenging. I suspect it's easier to find interesting things to shoot at 3am some places than others.
     
  7. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    I was also going to suggest both the monthly theme and single lens challenges.

    I've also seen people who switch from 365 to 52 week. Where instead of one photo a day, they go for one high quality photo a week. I didn't follow your 365, but I know just from experience that some days you can't get a great photo. So it's a challenge each week to make just one that you are really proud of
     
  8. Chazzz

    Chazzz Mu-43 Regular

    115
    Sep 2, 2010
    Washington State
    Oh yeah - the 52-week deal... I've seen that several times too. I know a woman who did a 365-day project AND separately a 52-week project. And she took really good shots. I hate her. :)
     
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  9. DeeJayK

    DeeJayK Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 8, 2011
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    Keith
    I love that you set your mind to this and accomplished it and that you were able to gain confidence and skills. I also appreciate that you want to keep the momentum going.

    Lots of great ideas in this thread already. I particularly like the "theme" suggestions that @Chazzz@Chazzz made. I've never seriously attempted a "Project 365" but doing it with those other restrictions would make it significantly more difficult, but also more rewarding I assume.

    Another great way I found to push my boundaries is through books. There are lots of great suggestions in these threads (1, 2). A couple of books that I personally got a lot out of are The Passionate Photographer: Ten Steps Toward Becoming Great by Steve Simon and Photographically Speaking: A Deeper Look at Creating Stronger Images by David duChemin

    Given that you have enjoyed the community aspects of the shared challenges here, what about creating a series of communal challenges organized around a single theme? You could use themes like "portraits", "b&w", "M-mode (manual) only", "vehicles", "street photography", "macro", "red", "flash", "animals", "sculpture", "manual focus only", etc. Each challenge would run for a set period...a month seems too long, maybe a fortnight?

    You could structure it as a contest similar to the ongoing post-processing challenges, where a winner is named for each one and that person would then choose the next theme. You could also ditch the competitive aspect and just find another way to rotate the "leader" (maybe the first person to reply to the post or some such). I think that having someone new choose each challenge's theme would ensure that there is plenty of diversity.

    Anyway, just some thoughts. Keep shooting and pushing your own boundaries.
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2015
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  10. DeeJayK

    DeeJayK Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 8, 2011
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    Keith
    I love doing this exercise. I shoot primarily with primes and I tend to choose one and shoot with it for a couple of weeks at a time unless a particular event or situation argues for a change. After a short period of doing this, I tend to "see" in that focal length and can find and quickly frame shots that will work with that particular angle of view. Doing that allows me to see even very familiar surroundings in new ways.
     
  11. TwoWheels

    TwoWheels Mu-43 Top Veteran

    679
    May 28, 2014
    British Columbia
    Evan
    @DeeJayK@DeeJayK - I meant to reply to this a few days ago then got side-tracked. I think you've just come up with a splendid idea for an ongoing challenge. :2thumbs: Since it's your idea, would you have any interest in setting up the rules and getting it kicked off? I suspect most of it could just be copied from the post-processing challenges. I would volunteer to be an enthusiastic participant! The one change that might be worth considering is selecting the winner based on popular vote (number of likes, double points for winner?) with the previous winner/current challenge initiator being the tie-breaker. That may help generate interest and traffic on the thread. The fortnight (I had to look that up to be sure what it meant :biggrin:) or maybe bi-monthly length seems about right since it would require going out and shooting a new picture--no using photos from the archives. It wouldn't take a lot of participants to make it interesting and people could jump in and out as schedules require. Do you think there would be sufficient interest?
     
  12. spatulaboy

    spatulaboy I'm not really here

    Jul 13, 2011
    North Carolina
    Vin
    Congrats! 365s can be challenging but it appears you live in a very photo-friendly area. I did two 365 projects and my skills have improved greatly because of them.
    Take a break so you don't get burned out. ;)
     
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  13. DeeJayK

    DeeJayK Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 8, 2011
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    Keith
    @TwoWheels@TwoWheels, yeah, I'd be cool with setting something like this up, if you think it sounds interesting. As far as whether others will jump in, I think there is an audience for it, but we won't know until we try. Like you said, even if there are only a few participants, I think it can still have value for those folks.

    I like your voting idea to determine the winner. My (minor) fear is that voting will favor the earliest posters (since more people will see their posts), but maybe that's not even necessarily a bad thing. We can give it a shot and tweak the rules as needed if it takes off.

    I've been busy lately, but once my schedule calms down a bit I'll put up a post announcing the new contest. Look for it by the end of the week.
     
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  14. TwoWheels

    TwoWheels Mu-43 Top Veteran

    679
    May 28, 2014
    British Columbia
    Evan
    Sounds good!

    I hadn't thought of that--it's a good point. If you have an alternative approach that you think would work better, that's fine too.

    I'll be looking for your post. :thumbup:
     
  15. Venser

    Venser Mu-43 Regular

    48
    May 5, 2014
    With regards to voting, I've participated at a good number of websites with a voting component and I'll throw my two cents out there.

    1x
    : Challenge is announced and members can enter the challenge until the challenge is over. The sooner you enter your image, the better the chances of doing well. Another flaw is they present the images in order of their current popularity. So there's a huge bias in their method.

    Cambridgeincolour
    : Monthly challenge - You have all month to post one image. At the end of the month, there's about a week period to vote for a single image that you deem the best; voting is anonymous and scores aren't shown until voting is over.
    : mini-challenges - automated so once there's ten entries voting starts. Two days of voting and the person with the most votes wins. Voting is anonymous and all scores are shown immediately after you vote.

    dpchallenge
    : Challenge is announced and there's a week to submit a photo from that week. Various rule restrictions to limit what you can and can't do to your image (my least favourite part). Once submission is over voting starts. Voting is anonymous and lasts one week. Your scores are updated every hour but you only know your score, so you don't know where your placed until the end.