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Feb 3 / Caro

Project 365 – One Month Reflections

So here we are, the final four images of month one. Compared to my previous attempts at a 365 Project, things are going great. But everything is relative! This has not been a simple undertaking for me at all, and I’ve already discovered quite a lot about myself

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Playtime just before bed!

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Ian’s parents had bought us, and Ian’s sister and husband, tickets to go and see Phantom Of The Opera. My mother-in-law babysat our nieces, whilst Thomas was left with my father-in-law. Needless to say, bedtime was less than successful (out of routine, in a different house without Ian or I there will always be a recipe for disaster for our poor sleeper). We arrived home to the news that he had stayed up playing until he fell over dead on his feet. Amazingly he still could not be persuaded to sleep in his cot, so ended up sleeping in his Grandad’s arms until we got home. This is how we found them. (The show was fabulous, by the way!)

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Dressing up in his cousin’s dressing up clothes!

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A return to bedtime normality. Playing with Daddy, blowing raspberries on the changing mat, whilst Mummy runs the bath!

Overall I’m pleased with the collection of pictures the first month of this project has yielded. However there are many more iPhone images than I would like, particularly as part of the aim of this project for me personally was to make sure I was picking up my DSLR as often as possible. The main reason for all the phone pictures is simple: I always have my iPhone to hand. I’m disappointed in myself for not using a “proper camera” more often though, and I’ve identified something which I need to work on getting over – my lack of confidence in being seen with a camera constantly in my hand. I suppose I’m shy about being seen taking photographs in public, although I find this much easier when taking landscape images.

The reasons behind this are a bit complex. There is the old fact of not wanting to miss the moment because I’m too busy trying to capture it. And not wanting to be judged for photographing my child rather than paying close attention to him (although ‘d never think this of someone else with a camera!). But the deeper issue goes back to worrying too much about what other people think of me. You see, I think that these days almost anyone wants to call themselves a photographer, or claim that photography is a hobby. The number of people buying a DSLR because they think that they will somehow get better photographs just by owning it has soared. The number of people using said camera on full auto mode, because they have no understanding of the basics of aperture and shutter speed, is also huge.

I don’t, and could never, claim to be a photographer. I enjoy creating photographs, when I have the time. I enjoy the process of experimentation and learning about light and looking at subjects in unusual ways. There are perhaps a couple of dozen photographs that I’ve taken in my life that I’ really, really proud of. But I will freely admit that I mostly take snaps, although I do use my camera in full manual as often as I can, but I often make mistakes with exposure and using the available light effectively. The bottom line is that there is a massive difference between the snaps that most of us take most of the time, and photographs. It may sometimes be subtle, but the differentiation is there.

What I don’t want  to do is to give the impression that I think I’m a photographer, when I know that I’m not. And that is the main reason that I feel self conscious about wielding a DSLR in public.  I know it’s crazy, and why should I care what other people think?  This project is starting to show me that I do need to get over it and start getting my camera out more.

The other good thing which has come out of tackling this project is forcing me to deal with some of my unruly Lightroom Catalogs and come up with a more ordered filing system for the pictures I keep on my hard drive. As all of our images are also stored on our file server, I’m very guilty of not organising my local folders very well, but that is obviously something i cannot get away with during this project.

Anyone with too much time on their hands who chooses to look at the EXIF data for many of my images will, however, notice something amiss. The dates on the vast majority of the images don’t match the dates they are filed against. In case anyone wanted to accuse me of “cheating”, I thought I’d include an explanation. The first part is to do with how I handle uploads from my phone, because I don’t connect my phone directly to my Mac and upload through iTunes and nor do I store the images on the local drive, somehow this sometimes does something to the dates. The second part of the explanation is that we have two identical camera bodies, but use one much more than the other. I switched cameras quite a bit this month, due to issues with the auto focus in one camera and a couple of episodes of mirror jam. One of the cameras had an incorrect date and time setting, which has only just been fixed. I thought about using a program to alter the metadata, but decided that I simply couldn’t be bothered. After all – and this is the third part of the explanation – this is my project. Why should anyone else care when I did or didn’t take the images.

It’s about challenging myself and making memories for my family. I’m definitely succeeding there.

January Collage

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