A little over a year ago I was inspired to start on a photography project I would have to participate in every single day for the duration of 2010. At first it seemed a little overwhelming, but after some searches online it seems that there are actually quite a few people out there that have successfully done this exact same thing. This was a huge relief to me to at least know that this was a feasible thing to do!
So I started a Tumblr blog and began taking photos every day. At first it came easy because I had so many ideas and it was new. I also was uploading these photos to Facebook so that people I see on a daily basis would know about the project and be able to see what I was doing. In hindsight this was probably the best decision because so many of my friends would say the most encouraging things to me about my photos. This was really big for me because, as you might imagine, forcing yourself to do a specific out-of-the-ordinary task every single day can become quite a burden. So a HUGE “thank you” goes out to all my friends in my life, and also to everyone online whom I’ve never met. You all were a gigantic blessing and encouragement to me.
So, to sum it all up: it was a success! I managed to take a photo every day of 2010 except for one (oops.) The one day I missed is something I can excuse myself for; I was in Africa and exhausted on that particular day. I made up for it by simply extending the project into the first day of 2011. Not ideal, but a fair trade off.
Overall, I’m so extremely glad that I did it, and I’m very proud of what I came up with. Of course some photos I like a lot more than others, a few I wish I could do over again, but in the end it is what it is and I’m happy with how it turned out. Would I do it again? NO WAY! This turned out to be an incredible amount of work! Much more than I anticipated.
Why It Sucked
It seemed fun at first, but then it just became a burden. Not to say that I hated photography or the results, but it just became a tedious thing to do. Unless there was some event or specific place to go on a particular day, my day usually went as follows:
That’s just to capture the image. Once that’s done I still have to import them all into my computer and find the one I like and then edit it. At first this wasn’t too bad, but later in the year I upgraded to some more advanced editing software which gave me a lot more options as to what I could do; thus it took more time to learn and took longer to adjust all the fine details. Now that it’s over, I won’t know what to do with my time!
What Changed Over The Year?
I started out the year armed with my Nikon D80 which I owned for a few years, and iPhoto. I would take some photos and just adjust the basic colors in iPhoto, because that’s really about all you can do. The opportunity to go on a mission trip to Togo, Africa came up; after I decided to go, I knew I wanted to be able to shoot some video over there. I needed a new camera with these capabilities.
So, I was able to purchase a Canon 7D and I haven’t looked back. What a great camera, plus it shoots HD video! About the same time I purchased this camera I also made a switch form iPhoto to Adobe Lightroom. Both of these were amazing investments that have taught me a lot more about photography.
What Did You Learn?
I am surprised to find out how little I learned about photography itself. I feel like I learned a lot more about editing photos and maybe an equal amount abut how to set up for a photo. Sometimes there was a lot of lighting, and tripods, and reflectors, and all kinds of other things that had to be set up to get an image to look the way I wanted it to. And lastly, I certainly learned about time management! There were quite a few days where I waiting until the last minutes of the day to take the photo, but I always managed to pull it off.
As I mentioned above, in 2010 I was able to be part of a mission trip to Togo, Africa. This was an amazing trip in and of itself, but the images I was able to capture on the dark continent are among some of my favorites I’ve ever taken. I’ll be headed back to Togo in mid-2011 and I can’t wait to look through my lens again at the beautiful people and landscapes of Africa.
This past year was the first time I’ve ever actually be paid for a photography gig! I’ve always bee the “amateur friend with a camera” so it was nice to actually have people recognize me and be willing to give me compensation for what I do.
I was able to shoot a wedding in Panama City with a friend, Carrie Smith, who is quite an amazing photographer herself! The bride and groom were friends with both of us, so we had a great time spending all day with the couple on their special day. I was able to great some really excellent shots that day, and I’m pretty proud of them all.
My close friend (and great photographer too!) Bethany Boggs was scheduled to shoot a wedding and asked me to assist her. Being that she was pregnant, stressed out, her husband was out of town, and we hadn’t seen each other in quite a while I decided that it would be a good idea to drive over to Panama City once more. I didn’t know the bride or groom, but we had a pretty great time with them. The best part was that Bethany was the main photographer, meaning that I could take as many photos as I wanted to and she was the one who had to edit them all!
People Who Helped Out
I don’t think I’d have half as many cool images if it weren’t for the amazing people who were either the main subject of my photos or helped in the creation in some way. I just want to go through the list and name some of the people who played a part in this!
A good friend here in Pensacola. One night we went out for Sushi, and I mentioned that I still haven’t taken my photo for the day. He said he’d love to help out, so we went out to some old railroad tracks and came up with this image. Quite honestly, this turned out to be one of my favorites! Shane also breaks out his guitar every now and then, which always makes for a great photo subject.
An amazing singer, musician, and worship leader (and designer, and photographer…) here in Pensacola. He helped lead us in worship every tuesday night in a service that used to be held called Worship On Tuesday. Robert is a master on his keyboards, so all of the shots I have of him are while he’s playing the keys
Yet another amazing singer and worship leader here in Pensacola. She sang along side Robert at Worship On Tuesday. One night after the service I just stepped up on stage while they were singing the closing song and snapped some photos of Leah. This one came out exceptionally well, and Leah ended up loving it. She now uses it on her business cards and her website, http://leahtaylorministries.com/
Yet another member of the now retired Worship On Tuesday band. Derrick plays the drums, and was kind enough to let me come up during practice and annoy him while my flash went off in his face.
One more member of the now retired Worship On Tuesday band. James is phenomenal on the electric guitar, and let me take a few photos of his guitar once. He also wore a pretty sweet hat one night and pointed at me.
A good friend of mine and an amazing photographer as well. One night we went out to take some photos at Fort Pickens, but got her car stuck in the sand when we pulled off the side of the road. While waiting for help, we had nothing better to do than to take photos; in which I snapped this great silhouette of her. Another night we went out to get some photos of the terrible oil spill that had started to wash up on our beaches here in Pensacola.
Melissa Plotner & Denise Beecher
Two very good friends of mine that were kind enough to let me take their photo together while we were waiting around for a meeting about our upcoming trip to Africa to start one evening. I took a whole series of photos, but I just love how this one came out!
One night I went out to dinner with Lauren and another friend, and we decided to go out afterwards and get some pictures of each of them. It was a lot of fun and we captured some great images that night. This one in particular really seemed to show off Lauren’s personality!
Dave is an incredible sound man, and can also be a pretty hilarious and intense person. One night we were over at a friends house playing some games on the Wii, and he was just taking it way too serious. He also ran the sound system for a while at Worship On Tuesday, and let me bother him with my camera while he worked.
Sean is a great friend of mine with a hilarious personality and a heart for God. He also went to Africa with us, but he was over there for an entire 4 months! One night before he left, we had a send off party for him at the bowling alley. I needed to take a picture that night, so we got the idea to make it look like he was about toss a bowling ball into my camera. We both really loved how this one came out. Once we met up in Africa, we actually did a pretty good job of re-creating this image in one of the villages with a kickball.
Matt is someone whom I met briefly when he came to do a presentation where I work, but have kept up with on Twitter. He’s an incredible graphic designer and a talented programmer. One day out of the blue he told me he wrote a webapp for mobile Safari (the browser on iPhones & iPads) that would produce text in 3D space when the device was moved during a long exposure photograph. Even more amazing is that he does not own a camera capable of taking long exposures, so as far as I can tell this was written without and true testing! To my surprise it worked perfectly, but I just had some issues getting the image to turn out right. You can see and download all the code for this over on Matt’s Github page.
Peter & Charity Dublin (and Koby)
Both Peter and Charity are very close friends of mine, and I was able to travel to Africa with both of them this year as well. In a few months time they will be moving away to Nashville, TN and be working full time for Mentor Leaders (which is the organization we went to Africa with). They needed a photo of the two of them together for Mentor Leaders to use, so I was able to take this one of them and also make it my photo of the day. They were also kind enough to let me get a photo of their dog, Koby, one night.
Lanessa is a coworker, and a talented software tester. She asked me one day if I would be willing to take some photos of her for her online testing profiles, and once we found the time we met in a park and really captured some great images of her. He son also came out and he was a big help in holding the light reflector for the gorgeous sunlight we got in the park that evening.
Allison & Drew MacLean
Allison and Drew are good friends of mine back from when I lived in Panama City. Shortly after getting engaged Allison asked me if I would be willing to to come back over for their wedding and take their wedding photos with my other friend Carrie Smith! I said yes, but I was a little nervous since it was my first time being the “official” wedding photographer (or at least 50% of the photographers). The wedding went great, but before the ceremony they had rented one of the trolleys from the city to take some photos in. This turned out to be a great idea, and we got some truly unique photos in the trolley.
Derek & Bethany Boggs (and Muffin)
Both Derek and Bethany are some of my favorite people in the world, just a blast to hang out with. When I lived in Panama City, I was Derek’s roommate for a couple years, we co-owned a web-design company, and I even got to be in their wedding. Every time I’ve come back to Panama City since leaving, they have invited me to stay with them in their home. One time while visiting I asked them if I could get a photo of the two of them together, and I love how this one in particular came out. They also let me take some photos of their hilarious cat, Muffin.
Bethany Boggs, Samantha Southerland, & Kristen Brown
The day before my birthday they surprised me by showing up at a restaurant I was going to eat at with Derek & Bethany. Afterwards we hung out, laughed a lot, and I finally realized that I still had to take a photo. We put our heads together and decided to take a completely ridiculous photo! I can’t think of three funnier girls.
YOU – Yes, you! Thank you for reading this and/or keeping up with my blog throughout the year. Everyone who has said something nice, used my photos somewhere, made one of my photos as their profile pictures, promoted my blog, or just put up with me as I carried my camera around with me freaking everywhere – THANK YOU! 2010 was an amazing year for me in so many ways, and this photography project was a huge part of that. Thank you everyone!