We take things for granted every day.

We are often so busy in our daily routines that we miss the beauty around us. It seems there is just no time to be still and observe.

Sometimes, however,  we are forced to be still and observe–like in the school pick-up line.

As I would sit and wait for the bell to ring, I started noticing things around me. One day there would be interesting cloud formations. On another day there might be a tractor plowing the nearby field. Sometimes a crop duster, en route to spray a field, would soar over the rows of cars.   I always wished for a camera on those days. Then I got an idea for a project.

Early project

The project was to take a picture of the field across from the school-from the same spot-every day of the school year.

I would remember my project idea around October every year. By then it was too late to start. Well, last summer I made my idea into a plan!

Just before school started I went over to the school and scoped out where to place my camera and such. I was so excited to finally be going through with my project.  I even had my husband take my picture!

before profile

 

Originally, the project was going to be called Project 360. I was going to take a picture in the morning and in the afternoon. I quickly decided Project 180 would do just fine. Besides, there was homework to do after school!

Here are a couple of things I learned from my long-term project:

•Plan. I had the idea for a long time. It wasn’t until I actually made a plan that there was follow-through.

•Be flexible. The field I photographed was not the field I had originally planned on shooting. I had done the planning for my shot in the afternoon. When I took my first picture I realized I didn’t like the way the shadows fell in the morning. I moved down to the end of the parking lot to find a different view.

•Use a tripod. I had a mono-pod (Photo says tripod but it was really a mono-pod.) It worked okay. There was a nice crack in the curb for me to plant the base every day.

chipped concrete

I had to line up my view finders on a tree in the distance to try to get the same view every day. Some days I just had to guess! A tripod would have provided more stability on windy days as well.

•Always carry business cards with your blog address on them. I can’t tell you how many times I would get stopped at the football games, the grocery store, the parking lot, etc. with people asking me what in the world I was doing. Friends would send me emails. Acquaintances and perfect strangers would drive by just to inquire. If I had a nickel for every time…I wish I had at least given them a card.

photographer

•Upload your pictures daily. This I did do, thank goodness! Being an amateur photographer, I took several pictures each day. I would come home and immediately upload my 12-30 photos. I had nice little file for each day. Then I would go through and pick the best one. The best one was considered “best” compared to the previous day. I was mainly looking to see if the photos were aligned. These photos were labeled according to their day and went into a “Chosen Ones” folder. BE SURE PHOTOS ARE UPLOADED BEFORE DELETING THEM FROM YOUR CAMERA!

•Involve others. My husband, a photographer,  was very excited about my first photography project. The kids…well, the jury is still out on their excitement. Poor Katie had to ride to school every day with the camera. She “affectionately” called it Cami. Then there was the day I almost shoved her out of the car so I could get to my place in time to capture the crop duster in the perfect spot. Unfortunately, I didn’t get the shot, but my child did make it to school safely.

•Love the subject. I was afraid I would get bored taking the same picture for 180 days! It really was fun. It was like I was seeing a different field every day.

Ecclesiasties3This project gave the change of seasons a whole new perspective. I suppose standing in 14˚F weather will make you look at ANYTHING differently. Yes, I stood in the same spot in the pouring rain, the 35 mph wind, the frigid cold and the beautiful sunshine–180 days!

I hope you enjoy this project as much as I did.

A big THANK YOU to my husband, Chip, for putting the video together for me and encouraging me all along the way!

Now, I present to you my photography project–Project 180…