The Beginning

The Beginning

Despite not having to take a photo on the first of January, I set my alarm for just before sunrise so that I could be on location just before the sun was up. As much as I wasn’t really looking for the early morning light, I was looking to be alone.
I was dressed in a Viking style dress that’s about 4 sizes too big for me and tied at the waste with brown sting; and planned on being bare foot lying in a puddle. The location for the puddle with a line of trees in the background what I had found was on the edge of a small “car park” near where I live. Said car park/surrounding areas gets populated with dog walkers and I’d much prefer to not be gawped at as a lie in a puddle. Bare foot. In winter.

In true sods-law fashion it also happened to be really cold as I set out. It was the first morning this winter that I’d had to de-ice my car, which didn’t make me look forward to lying in a puddle bare foot any more than I already was!

On the plus side the car park was empty when I arrived. I took a couple of tester shots with my boots and jumper on as I didn’t want to be running back and forth in the cold bare foot to check composition and focusing, and as I was doing so a car drove past. So I grabbed my camera and sat in my car. Oddly it drove past (The car park is pretty much at a dead end, there is about 3 cars worth of space after the turn in for the car park), so I wondered if it parked past the car park. However just as I was feeling brave enough to get back out of the car it drove back past – and it was a police car, clearly someone had phoned me in 😉

Shots were taken without incident, just very cold feet and hands. The ice cracked a bit as I took the last few shots so I knew time was running out.

I then decided to boot up and venture into the woods at the back of the shot to grab the next shot in the series. At this point, just as I was walking into the woods a car pulled up (dog walker), then another car. So the timing could not have been better!

I grabbed another two shots (Only one of which involved taking my boots off again) and then was home before kB had even woken up properly.

Happy New Year!

How to survive… December

12-2014That’s it! 31 more days and then there’s a full year in the bag 🙂

Sheffield City Hall // 17 12 13

Positives of December

  • The possibility of snow. And with that comes a snow day 😉
  • Christmas! Lights, presents, people – there is a lot to keep you occupied in the run up to Christmas
  • Sunrise and sunset. Again more achievable given the times they are at (although see negatives)
  • Frost and mist. mmmmm ❤ my favourites
  • It’s dark. Thus it is easier to do night time photography!

Negatives of December

  • Sunrise and sunset. Now they happen so late / early that the chances are you will be on your way to work when the sun comes up, and not leave until after it’s gone down! Bummer
  • It’s cold. Brrrrr, means you have to wrap up warm if you want to venture out
  • It’s a bit more wet. So probably pack a brolly too

Waiting for the end of the world // 29 12 13

How to Survive… December

  • Embrace the night. Car trails, star trails… All a lot easier when it’s dark by 430!
  • Don’t be afraid of adverse conditions. Prepare for the bad weather but get out in it. Remember that camera batters don’t last as long in the cold so pack a spare. It’s also a good idea to take a towel with you (just a small one!), just in case. Besides there is nothing like a drastic change in weather to spice up a landscape that you’ve shot 49304230 times this year 😉
  • Embrace the festivity. Even if you are Scruge, get out there and shoot the run up to Christmas. Christmas markets, decorations, embrace them! They will save your December if you’ve run out of ideas.
  • Bokeh. Bokeh is out of focus light, and given that there will be fairy lights pretty much every where, embrace the technique and come up with some interesting results.

December 2013

By candlelight // 10 12 13

December 2012

Korean Stone Hot Pot // 336

December 2011

Warnings // 31 12 11December 2010

After being mad at myself for giving up, I technically started taking a photo every day from the 18th December 2010…

Santa's Dirty Laundry (011 // 28 12 10)

How to complete a Project 365

I’m Sami. I’ve taken a photo each and every day since January 1st 2011. This means I have completed 4 Project 365s one straight after the other (Assuming I don’t mess up in the next couple of days!).

No cheating, no mess ups. A photo each and every day for 4 years.

If you are thinking about starting a Project 365 then here are some tips to get you going and make sure that you keep at it.

1. Want it

Taking a photo a day is a massive commitment, even if you are planning on doing it on your phone or tablet. It is inevitable that you will run out of time, or be ill, or almost forget at some point. One big thing that I think people don’t think about is why are you doing it? To improve your photography skills? To have a photographic record of one year of your life?
If you don’t really know why you are doing it then the chances are you wont complete it because something else will come up, or you will just get fed up of it.

I started my Project 365 because I wanted to learn how to use my SLR to take ‘proper’ photos.
Sheffield City Hall // 17 12 13

2. Have support

Even if they are not taking part in the project, friends or family who can take an interest and keep you on track is a fantastic idea. Even better is finding people online who you can share your photos with and build up a Project 365 friendship with. You can keep each other on track with motivation and kind words for the off days (weeks, months….).
If you write a small comment about what the picture is about then it helps people to maintain an interest in what you are shooting.

I used Flickr exclusively for a couple of years, and last year I started to put my best shots on Facebook for family to look at too. Each year on Flickr I’ve made new 365 friends and they are brill! 🙂

Autumnal glory // 03 11 14

3. Start early and keep it regular

Take a ’emergency’ shot first thing in the morning; build it into your morning routine. It can be of anything; toothpaste, toothbrush, the floor…. Once you have a shot in the bag it takes some of the pressure off (and yes you will feel the pressure if you are serious about completing it!) as all you have to do is take a better shot!
If you have a model or a toy or something keep it near your bed – worst case scenario is you end up with more shots than you should of that.
Maintain posting regularly. If you end up with a backlog of images to edit and post then you will keep putting it off!

I have a Danbo and a Domo for such occasions, as well as a box of odd bits which I can use when I can’t think of anything else. The biggest backlog I ever amassed was in 2011,  where I have November and December to sort out during the Christmas holidays!
Sunset // 23 10 13

4. Set an alarm

Chances are you don’t go anywhere without your phone. Which has an alarm function on it.
It might take you months, or even most of the year, to build taking a photo every day into your routine so why not set a musical reminder to keep you on track.

I had my alarm for 730 at night. That way there was still enough time to shoot something and relax before bed.
The Lighthouse // 24 08 13

5. Set goals

Even if it’s nothing more than to take a self portrait once a week. They don’t have to be elaborate, but if you set yourself small manageable goals which you can work towards then it gives you a sense of purpose. These will be especially useful when you’ve got a couple of months under your belt and you start to question why you thought this would be a good idea.

I had a goal for the year, and then I had a weekly theme. I had to take at least one photo per week on theme.
Having a theme also served as a good back up plan for when I couldn’t think of anything to snap.
The Poisoned Apple // 05 08 13

6. Don’t be too hard on yourself

You will have off days. Hell you might have whole months which are off, but you have a life (presumably) and taking a top notch photo every single day is just not going to happen. Accept that you will take lots of duds.

In 2011 the months October – December are just bad. Out of focus close ups of wool is a shot that specifically springs to mind.
Abandonment // 27 09 13

7. Keep a note

Of ideas, locations, people who don’t mind being snapped…. It will come in useful at some point so jot everything down and keep it on you. If you have a notes app on your phone then that would be a great place to keep it.

I’m a paper kind of girl so I have a note book.
When a book comes to life // 14 07 13

8. Carry a camera

There are tonnes of apps out there for image processing, so it doesn’t have to be an actual camera – the one on your phone will do. Just make sure that you always have something with you. After all the best camera is the one you have on you. Don’t miss out on a shot by not having something to snap it with.

I take my SLR most places with me, but I without fail always have my phone on me.
Out of Reach // 01 06 13

9. Keep a look out

Start to look at objects and locations in a different way. There are a lot of months in the year where it will be dark when you go to work and dark when you get home. There will be lots of things to photograph in your house, or at work which you wont notice because you look at them every day.

I have a fondness for buying cheap objects from the supermarket to snap.
Afternoon Tea // 11 04 13

10. Keep going

If you are ill you will want to give up.
If you are busy you will want to give up.
When it’s December and you are fed up of it being dark all the time and you having to come up with indoor shots you will want to give up.

Don’t give up. Use your support network and keep at it. This is a massive commitment, but it is so worth it.
Keep at it! A rubbish shot is better than no shot at all.

I gave up in 2010 and I regretted it. I started again on Dec 18th 2010 because I was so determined that I would complete it in 2011.

Winter Berries // 28 12 13

11. Be creative

It’s easy to fall into the trap of just taking a photo for the sake of taking a photo so that you complete the project. Doing this some of the time is fine (and unavoidable) but if you don’t keep pushing yourself then you will become bored with the project. Try new styles, photograph new things, try photographing  with just one lens for a whole week, heck go for a month! Trying new things is key to stopping this project going stale. See this page for some suggestions on things to shoot if you are stuck. Even if it doesn’t work out you can say you’ve tried something new… Even if you never try it again 😉

I have a list of things I want to try out. I usually come up with the list towards the start of the year and then add to it as I come up with new ideas. 

Little Jellyfish // 16 12 14

Because I am mad I’m going again in 2015, so feel free to follow me on here or any of the other social places… Flickr, Facebook.
Got your own tips? Add them below! 🙂

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