Day 365 of 365, originally uploaded by Rob Weiher.
I thought for my last photo of my 365 Project I'd go back to where it all began. If you haven't followed along since day 1 I'll recap real quick. A couple of weeks before the end of 2008 I had the grand idea of doing this project. To get me started I came up with the idea of taking my old Army jungle boots around to various places around Ft. Ord, which is mostly abandoned and now the site of a California State University campus. My very first shot was of my boots on these steps. So here it is...a self portrait of my ugly unshaven mug wearing my boots sitting on the steps.
Before I do my project after action review I'd just like to thank all my friends and family for being so encouraging and helpful. I've made so many new friends along the way I can't really name all of you but I'd like to especially thank my wonderful wife, Jennifer, for providing me with the creative spark and having a whole lot of patience for my process. I love you Jen...thanks for inspiring me.
So...I took 365 photos and posted them to this here blog over the last year. I've been asked for some tips on how to do a 365 Project. Here is what I've told a few people. This is what helped me and I'm sure if you ask any number of other 365 Project participants they will say some of or something completely different from me.
1. You have to figure out what your goal for the project is. My goal was twofold. Learn how to use my camera as if it was an extension of myself and to develop my creative eye.
2. Have fun. If it becomes a chore and believe me it will start to feel like it at some point you have to bring yourself back to the fun part.
3. Experiment/Explore. When I started to feel like it wasn't fun I would start experimenting with different techniques. I played with fire, smoke, open shutter zoom, water drops, moving objects with shutter open (see Day 203 as an example), intentional blur, reverse lens macro, bokeh, bokeh and intentional blur, different lighting setups and so on.
4. Take walks. I would try and get out of the house at least once a week and go someplace local and walk around taking photos as if I was a tourist. Sometimes I would pick something to focus on like finding colorful things, or textures, or nothing but flowers.
5. Look at lots of photos. I found it helpful to find other photographers blogs and Flickr sites and look at what they were doing. Sometimes it would spark an idea. If you see something you enjoy and want to know how they did it...ask. Most photographers are happy to share how they did something with you.
6. Explore the different styles. I knew coming into this that I don't have the patience (or equipment for that matter) for wildlife or the eye for landscape but I still tried to learn how to take the best possible photo in those styles as I could. My biggest failure of my project was not exploring portrait more. I don't like having my picture taken (I don't like how I look at all in photos) so I don't find portrait photography interesting. Interesting enough my first paid photo shoot was a portrait...go figure. Other styles to explore...food, macro, still life, sports (I wish I had done more sports), and I'm sure there are others I've missed. I think fine art macro and still life are my strongest styles and what I'm drawn too.
7. Learn from your mistakes and make mistakes to learn from. This kind of ties in with experimenting and exploring. I tried things that were complete failures but on occasion I discovered how to do something that turned out great. Don't go out expecting to only take good photos...go out expecting to take as many photos as you can while still putting some effort into making them good. Before I started this project I would take my camera out and only take a few photos and when I would get home I would find that they all sucked. Now I go out and if I see something I find interesting I take several of that one subject but from different angles and settings. At least to start I would recommend doing this. As my creative eye got better and I learned my camera I could look at something and know what would be the best angle and settings and take only a few of the subject but it took a while to get to this point and I wouldn't have gotten there if I hadn't taken so many shots at the start.
8. Have I mentioned to have fun yet? Seriously...have fun
I think that pretty much wraps up my tips for a successful 365 Project. Good luck for those that are considering doing it. Feel free to leave a comment with your blog address if you do and I'll follow along.
Thanks again and have a safe and happy New Year.