PROJECT 366, THE FIRST 100 DAYS | Darrin Henry
It’s a bit like playing fetch with a young Border Collie; no matter how often or how far you throw the ball the dog will drop it back at your feet in a flash, demanding more. That’s how it feels shooting our first Project 366 – it has its playful moments but there’s a pressure we hadn’t expected.
What Is Project 366
It might sound like the easiest thing to do, a Project 365 (or Project 366 in a leap year), which means taking one (interesting) picture for each day of the whole year.
Day 1 was a doddle; we were raring to start. New Year’s Day pancakes after seeing out 2015 on the town the night before, was a tempting way to get 2016 started – in more ways than one!
But on the second day, with grey, miserable skies outside and football on TV, the reality of the project began to kick in. Luckily a spider’s web that had caught the raindrops out on the balcony came to our rescue.
One Picture Every Day For 2016
Amazingly we’ve now completed the first 100 days, a milestone achieved on 9 April.
I get cold sweats from the possibility we might simply forget one day to take a picture. It would ruin the whole project, but it’s so easy to do. Sharon carries her smart phone everywhere (even though we don’t have mobile accounts) making use of the excellent built in camera. I have a new appreciation for camera phones and mobile photography.
Photographers all over the world attempt the Project 365 challenge every year. It’s a fun exercise and I guess the level of creativity in the daily offering is up to the individual.
Theoretically you could just point the camera out the window – ‘click’ – and you’re sorted for the day. But if you enter into the spirit of the challenge and have a genuine passion for photography, then there’s a real desire to come up with something fresh and interesting each day – and that’s where we are!
Let’s Be Honest
Using pictures captured from a different day is not an option for us; that would be cheating. I know some photographers do this (some openly) but it defeats the whole concept of the 366 Project (or 365) as far as I’m concerned. It’s a bit like social media accounts that fake popularity by buying Likes or Followers. I would be embarrassed to tout success that I knew to be a false.
Hopefully we won’t miss our picture a day target, but if we do we’ll post a blank ‘no image’ graphic and see out the remainder of the year.
On a few occasions we don’t upload until the next day. This is often a consequence of conserving our limited internet allowance when we’re already over our daily quota. People who live in world of unlimited, high speed broadband won’t understand what I’m on about!
All that said, we’ve had it easier than most as we’re working as a team.
We’ve been using the DSLR mostly, but the camera phones and our compact have been getting a good look in. In fact, in some instances, these phones have proved a more useful option than the DSLR.
The Best Thing About Project 366
There has been another big surprise with this project, a real positive one this time; it’s improved our photographic eye! Shooting a Project 366 really pushes you to look at everyday life from a fresh standpoint and we’ve both benefitted enormously from these first 100 days.
Photographing still life has not normally been my strong point. Much like wildlife photography, the tediousness conflicts with my fidgety nature! But this project has definitely improved still life photography skills for both of us over the first quarter of 2016.
I’ve used the macro lens more. I spent nearly an hour striking matches and trying to capture the moment of flare. The frustration was quickly forgotten when the surging spark and curling wisp of blue smoke appeared on the camera’s LCD screen – the perfect shot for Day 28.
Guess What Happened On St Helena
The project has also become a surprise diary of the year for us. On Day 9 Sharon photographed the wet swings on Longwood Green; for those who know St Helena, this foggy, wet weather in the middle of the afternoon in January was certainly unseasonal. This project makes sure we won’t forget it.
Hiking Diana’s Peak with the Gifford family from yacht Totem on Day 76; having a beer in Sandy Bay with a man called Sandy Bay on Day 50 and the Polynesian double-hulled voyaging canoe, Hokulea, visiting St Helena on Day 11 are now great memories from 2016 preserved in pictures..
So after the first 100 days that included matches, pancakes and dogs, we are now into our second, 100 days. Fingers crossed we don’t forget to click!
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