I realise now the name of my 365 Photo Challenge really should have been 365 days of Mindfulness. That has probably been the biggest single thing, other than improving my photography, I have taken away from shooting a new photo every day for a year.
The mindfulness came in varying forms.
- First there was the obvious, being mindful to take a photo every single day. At first that was pretty easy because I was highly motivated and the project was new. And we had a major rain event in January, which helped with great subject matter. Oddly enough, as I write today the weather is exactly the same! I even helped a burrowing frog out of the spa this morning!
- Then I realised the time spent in the task of taking the photo was a kind of meditative experience for me. I relaxed into the process and time passed without my knowing it. It felt very odd on the few days that I did not have the opportunity to take my time with the process, as when we were traveling. You would think that seeing new things and different environments might make the photography easier, but the opposite was true. The light and environments were very different and it takes time to adjust; time which I often did not have. I realised how important that process was, allowing my mind to flow along its own path, to see and to associate freely.
Also I noticed that ‘seeing’ became more of a habit for me throughout the days. This was truly something I had not anticipated. It became more and more of a habit for me to find the light in a situation and if not take a photo, to take note of the moment. A Light Chaser was born.
- I began to see that the tiniest moments that I would have previously walked passed were numerous and each one a true gift in my day. The largest percentage of photos was taken within a kilometre of my home. And I was never without a tiny miracle when I needed it most. There were days when I felt very flat, or sick, or pushed for time, but something always caught my eye. It caught my eye because I was looking.
Finally, a humbling and humorous moment came when on about day 280 I discovered I had misnumbered, not by just one number, but by THREE numbers AT DAY 56!!! Those of you who know how little mathematic ability I have will see the humour in this situation, that I did not see at the time. For quite a few days I contemplated what to do. Finally, at day 330 I decided to correct all the numbers in sequence, from day 56. Each change required at least 8 ‘taps’ to make! It took hours. Adding salt to my wounded ego, I discovered along the way I had made two additional errors in numbering, returning the number of days out, to only ONE. But one, is one, so I continued making the changes. And therein shows that my mindfulness was less on the mechanics of the project and more on the creative aspects. I can live with that.
To say that I was ‘supported’ through this endeavour is an understatement. My friends and family encouraged me, and my dear husband was so supportive in the last few, sometimes difficult, months that he began pointing things out to me, or bringing me ‘lovely dead things’ (no animals) to photograph. I hope you all have someone in your life who is that supportive.
Wonderful as my husband is, there is another man without whom I would not have done this year long journey. His name is Emil Pakarklis and I have never even met him. About 20 months ago I enrolled in his iPhone Photography School to learn how to take better photos with my iPhone. His course expanded to include an editing course, which I also took, and now it has expanded to iPhone Photomasters subscription courses. Emil’s courses provided me with all the technical knowledge I needed, and much inspiration. It was on a post at his website that I got the idea to attempt the 365 challenge to improve my photography. Goodness, who knows where this will end? Here is an example of a photo I would not have been able to create without Emil’s courses. I used four different apps to achieve this ‘simple’ photo. (Cortex cam, Touch Retouch, Snapseed, iColourama)
Thank you so much to my inspiring Instagram and blog friends, who have ‘liked’ and commented about many of the photos along the way. The entire collection of photos is available to view on Instagram @amosthemagicdog. I doubt you have seen the last of this year’s photos. There were many extras that were not part of the 365 challenge for various reasons, not because they lacked merit. Some days choosing only one left me torn. Other days it was a struggle to find one. That is photography, and pursuit of the creative life.
Possibly the most important photo of all is the penultimate photo. This was my ‘secret weapon’. Last summer, before I started the challenge, I found this Cockatiel feather. We seldom see Cockatiels at our place and I loved the pattern of this feather. When I started the challenge I decided I would need a fall back photo to take, in case things got very bad one day. The feather was the fall back subject. Things did get bad a couple of times, but somehow this feather was never needed. It was my insurance, and put my mind at ease. But I wanted to share it anyway, because it was part of the story, and also, you know I love feathers.
Lastly, here is a photo matrix of some of the individual daily photos made using the natural collection accumulated from my daily walks throughout the year. This treasure trove began in a small drawer and then found a home on our kitchen work space these last few months, for the simple reason, that is where the light falls. In the morning the light flows in through the kitchen window, and in the evening the light streams through the dining room windows. A Light Chaser’s dream come true! This is the first time I have revealed the collection in its entirety. After today, most of the items will be returned to nature. Small little miracles, each and every one. As it turned out this collection saved me. Four days before the challenge ended, I developed a problem with my left foot and could hardly walk. So, no daily walks to show you the early light or sunrise. And the final day of the challenge there was hardly a scrap of light due to all the rain, so these last two photos were done in less than desirable conditions. Still, isn’t it just amazing how everything works out in the end if you persevere? xx Ardys