Last year for my birthday, my family gifted me with a Nikon D3200 camera, which was my biggest birthday wish ever. My digital camera had died months before, and I was ready to upgrade. At the time, my mom warned me that this camera was an investment and that I'd better darn well use it! (I suppose she's seen me "desperately want" something more than a few times in my life that ends up collecting dust in a corner... lol)
She needn't have worried... I've always loved taking pictures, documenting the good times from behind the camera lens. But just to be sure, I decided to take up a photography challenge, called Project 365, in which you take your camera out every single day to snap something. I started the challenge several days after receiving the camera, on August 3rd, 2015. Because last year was a Leap Year, my challenge actually turned into a Project 366.
I had a love-hate relationship with this challenge. Some days, I felt like there was absolutely nothing to photograph. Many days I took pictures of food, or mundane items in my home. But some days? Some days I amazed myself. And I was glad that the challenge forced me to take the camera out and use it every day for a whole year, even if it was only for a few minutes. It encouraged me to play with settings, to google more about my camera, and to learn more about photography than I've ever learned before.
Here are a few of my favourites...
This was one of the very first days - Day 3 maybe? I don't think I've ever intentionally got this close to a bee before... the camera already forcing me out of my comfort zone! ;)
This pic really isn't anything special - it didn't turn out how I wanted at all - but it drew a lot of attention on Facebook. It was my first attempt at night shooting (something I never really did figure out), so the comments on it were filled with suggestions and tips from my photographer friends, which I greatly appreciated. Who needs photography classes when Facebook provides such a great wealth of knowledge?!
My sweet little cousin Grace on the beach in Sand Point last summer
Shawville Fair 2015
I loved how cozy this photo turned out. It was a rainy September day, I made pumpkin spice cupcakes, and made my first pumpkin spice latte of the season. Yum.
One of my favourite photos of my trip to Nova Scotia last fall. That trip provided amazing scenery for me to practice!
Have I mentioned before how much I love fall? This pic was one of my fall favourites. Pumpkins and squash and gourds, oh my!
Looking back, I regret "tweaking" this picture as much as I did. I used a colour booster in editing to bring out the vibrancy of the fall colours, but that in turn also really boosted the blue of the water. Anyone who knows the Ottawa River knows it isn't even close to that blue... Still, a pretty picture, if I do say so myself.
I snapped a lot of shots around my place of employment - Mountainview has some great scenery! - but this was my absolutely favourite. A misty morning sunrise over the irrigation pivot in the field next to the office.
One of the first families to trust me with their family photo session... I had such fun taking pics for several of my friends last fall for their Christmas cards, and it was amazing practice for me! Family photo sessions became one of my favourite things to do with the camera. Abby, Gracie, and Leah were so much fun to take pictures of :)
I loved taking pictures around Halloween... this one turned out better than I ever could have hoped.
This was definitely one of my faves from the Remembrance Day Ceremony in Quyon last November
Danica was also ready and willing - and oftentimes DEMANDING - to be the photo of the day. She was actually pouting here (surprise, surprise), but I thought it was such a pretty snap of her
"Dance like nobody's watching!" Pretty sure my friends got sick of my and my camera over the year, because I dragged it every where with me, but it usually resulted in some fun photos... like this one ;)
Another fall family photo session, this time for Shannon, Casey & Rylie. Rylie became one of my favourite "subjects" during the year. So willing to smile for the camera! What a cutie!
I love the glow of the Christmas lights through my front door... I didn't know if I could capture it by camera, but it worked!
My nephew, the hockey player :)
One of my favourite moments on Christmas Eve... Alle getting friendly with Kara lol!
I took a lot of sunrise and sunset photos throughout the year... this sunrise on the 5th Concession in January sticks out as one of the nicest I captured.
My friend Sara was the very first one to let me take her family photos for her last fall... and her kids were more of my favourite subjects! I ended up with some great ones of Charlotte, Daniel & Hannah throughout the year, but this one from a visit to my place last winter was one of my very faves.
Happy 30th Birthday, Sue!
A fun photo from Maddy's 9th Birthday Party
I sucked at taking pictures of the moon (trust me, I tried many times, and they just didn't work). I had to edit the shit out of this one, but it drew some nice comments and likes on Facebook. People seemed to enjoy it.
A blessing if I ever did see one... Welcome Baby Isaac :)
My friend Lindsay was another one who trusted me with taking pics of her family on several occasions,... including Sam's 2nd birthday!
And my friend Sharon was another! Her little guy Hayden was always so good to mug for the camera, especially at this book club meeting.
My friend Stacy's kiddos, Maddy & Tanner, were also always willing to smile and pose... later on in the year, Tanner really got into the posing! haha! I used a blue enhancer on this photo, and I love how it turned out.
Ah yes. The night I made Lindsay stop on the side of a busy highway so I could snap this shot. It might have been crazy, but I'm glad I did.
Caryl's daughter Leah never fails to do something amazing for the camera... lol!
This might not be the best photo ever... it's blurry, and I was once again having trouble with night schooting... but I unintentionally capture my friends Sharon & Wayne in sync playing Texas Horseshoes at their 10th anniversary party... it was just perfect in my eyes!
An MVT hoedown at Mickey Creek :)
One day on my lunch hour, I went for a walk with my camera with the intention of taking a picture of a butterfly. And it worked!!! I had to crawl in a frigging ditch, but it worked!!!
I snapped this photo of my cousin Patti and her grand-daughter Annabelle at Randy's 50th birthday party. I love the way Nana is looking adoringly at her girl. Pure love right there!
My cousin's husband Jory told me very early on in their Canada Day visit that he had a personal goal of making it in my Project 366. I just had to make it happen for him. ;)
A family gathering on Canada Day, a bunch of very hyper children, a very hung over feeling Jill... I was grateful to my sister for providing some "quiet time"... and it made for a cute pic, too!
So glad we have an ice cream parlour in Quyon now! It's been a highlight of the summer! YUM!
Another photo of that church steeple... The sky on this night was stunning, and I was happy with the capture.
The return of the Quyon Tractor & Truck Pull was one of my favourite days of the summer. This is my cousin's husband Ellard during his awesome pull on Blue Bye U. It was an awesome moment, and I so enjoyed taking pictures at this event!!
Going to the Camp every summer has become a family tradition, and taking sunset pictures on the dock has become another tradition. This year, I caught something a little different, and it became one of my very faves. I was so proud of how this turned out.
A quiet moment on the beach between my Aunt Marion & her grandson Dillon. I ADORE this one!
The very last photo... I had lost track of the days, and didn't even realize this was the last day of the challenge. But somehow, this picture just seemed to fit perfectly. The past 366 days - and 366 photos - in that rear view mirror!! Cheers to that!!
I was relieved when my Project 366 came to a close, but I have to admit, I kind of miss it some days. Some days I go to grab the camera because I think I "have to", and then remind myself the challenge is over. I'm contemplating starting another one on New Year's Day - do a complete calendar year this time. My blog pal Nicole made a suggestion at one point to pick a theme, or do all black & white photos, just to add a twist. I kind of like that idea. We shall see.
My Project 366 did exactly what I hoped it would - forced me to use my camera every day, taught me many things about it, and resulted in some pretty awesome shots that I'm proud of. I am so grateful to my fam for the camera... I definitely think I've put it to good use, Mom! ;)