A Year in Photos, Or What I’m Doing Instead of Writing

 

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I have not been writing, friends, and while I am not so self-centered as to believe that you’ve missed me, still I apologize.

You see, I’ve gotten sidetracked. Just before my third daughter’s birth I purchased a Nikon DSLR camera. After playing with it for the first eight months of Alex’s life, I made a decision with implications I did not quite understand at the time. A friend of mine was engaged in what is called a 365 Project, an intentional practice of taking, editing, and posting one photo a day. I can do that, I thought. And so I began.

 

In my head, the project would go something like this: As often as possible, I would take my Nikon with me where I went. It would come to the playground, the beach, the skating rink, the grocery store, school drop-off and pick-up, on family walks, even into the bathroom for tub time. It has, in fact, been in all of those places, plus more. Wherever life brought me, my camera would come too. In this way, I would document each day of 2016.

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I did not, however, consider the following things when making this plan:

  • The strange looks from passer-by
  • The dangers of sand, water, and dirt-smeared children to my camera
  • An extra three pounds to carry
  • “I don’t WANT you to take my picture!”
  • My less than basic knowledge of photo editing software
  • My less than basic knowledge of a camera’s manual settings
  • The amount of time it takes to satisfactorily edit a photo, upload it to Google Drive on my computer, download it from Google Drive on my phone, caption, hashtag, and post it to Instagram

My whole family, myself included, is ready for this project to end. As of today, we’re looking at 66 days until I call it quits and find another hobby to consume my days and evenings. But for so many reasons, I wouldn’t have changed a thing. For 300 days I have managed to capture moments that will be precious to my family forever. Not just birthdays and holidays, but all the little details that make up our daily lives, and I have been able to coax out the beauty in each of these. I’m proud of myself for sticking with it, and I’ve become a better photographer in the process.

Will I return to words? I hope so. But as I recently told an editor, I’ve been going where the creative winds blow. After a trip around the sun, I hope they bring me right back home.

 

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