By Roger (7 February 2016)
We've talked, in the past, about how defining a project can help you grow as a photographer. I spent a couple of years traveling to Civil War re-enactments to mark the sesquicentennial. I made thousands of photographs, in a wide variety of conditions; I met many new people; and I learned quite a bit about my camera and post-processing. It was worth every minute I spent on it. In February 2015, Mark started his project on vineyards. (You can find his post here.) In short, we like to have active projects we're working.
A couple of weeks ago, I was talked into doing a 52 week challenge. You must take and post a photo every week. The moderator was pushing for a 365 day challenge, in which you post a photo every day for a year. (It's actually a 366 in 2016.) I didn't want to commit to that, but you can find many photos from the pool, on Flickr, here. There are, currently, 144 participants, and most have said they intend to do the 365.
You can still join the group, and it's free. You will need a Flickr account (also free). You can use any kind of camera, and your photo can be as simple as part of your life that day or week. There is no expectation of a weekly masterpiece. If you already have an account, just join the group, you'll be welcomed.
I know what many of you are thinking – “I don't want that kind of pressure.” Yeah, that was my first excuse to Jenny Stein, the organizer, too. My next excuse was that it was already near the end of January, and I didn't want to start late. She pushed that one aside, as well. There is no calendar requirement, either. (Sigh.) I could have kept coming up with excuses, but it was really pointless. Even without any kind of project, there is rarely a week that goes by where I don't make a photo. Why would posting it be so bad? Again, there is no expectation, beyond sharing with others in the group.
I have no particular theme for my weekly photos. My intent is to try new (for me) subject matter and experiment more. There will be be some travel and people, of course, but I'll try to overlap there, too. For example, my post for this week was from my granddaughter's birthday party. This is certainly no masterpiece, but it involved family photography with trying something different than my normal approach..
The kids were running around, as they do. The party room was too dark for no flash, but a flash completely killed the mood and the wild lighting effects. Luckily, my family is accustomed to my strange requests. I had the birthday girl stand and twirl her light wand. I used rear curtain sync (the flash goes off at the end of exposure) and a very slow shutter speed. The sensor records the background, allowing the blur of the wand to record to the sensor. The flash (set on very low power) releases its light at the end of the exposure, which records Grace and keeps her from blurring. Just a little fun for the kids, who liked the blurred shots much more than my pictures of the actual party and the candids I made.
You can follow my 52 week challenge (here), and comments are always welcomed. But that won't help you move your photography forward, so consider joining the group or starting your own. You'll have more fun with that than thinking up your own excuses on why you can't do it.