How Completing A Project 365 Will Improve Your Photography

In the last video I spoke about the Project 365 that I was just about to complete. Well, I finished it up yesterday, December 31st. It was actually a project 366 for me since I started the project on January 1st, 2012 This video is about how you can improve your photography by completing your own project 365:

I have become a better photographer over this last year and I owe a lot of it to the Project 365. Here's a couple of benefits I've realized as a result of completing the Project 365:

1. I have improved my ability to see things as a photographer-Over the course of the year I noticed that I was starting to see the world through the eyes of a photographer more and more. This allowed me to focus on the important parts of what I was seeing and take better photographs.

2. My composition skills have improved-Compared to last year I am better at placing images in the viewfinder of the camera, resulting in better photographs. This is entirely due to taking more photographs.

3. I am becoming my own best critic-Over the last year my skill at critiquing the photographs I make has improved, This means that I spend less time staring at the computer wondering which photographs are best. I have developed a taste for what I like and what I don't like and that makes me a better photographer in the end.

Bottom line, if you are looking to become a better photographer I would heartily suggest that you embark on your own version of a Project 365. The benefits you will get are many and you will have fun doing it!

At the end of the video I have added about 35 images from my Project 365 showing some of the different pieces of life that I captured during the year. If you want to see the entire 366 images you can check out my Project 365 set on Flickr

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Stairway To Eternity

I'm almost finished with my project 365 :-) I can't believe I'm on day 348 out of 366. While I'm happy to be almost finished, I'm also a little sad that it will be over. I've learned a lot about photography this year and the experience had definitely been worth it. Here's my image for today. I call it "Stairway to Eternity:

As I was walking out of the office, right at sunset, I was thinking about what I could do to capture an image for the day when I looked over at the stairway of the parking garage and saw that it was bathed in the final bit of daylight (which was slightly blue, a perfect match to the famed "blue hour"). The alternating stairs in the concrete tower looked pretty cool so I grabbed my trusty Canon Powershot S95 and clicked off a couple shots. When I loaded the images up on the computer I saw that the inside of the stairwell had a nice, contrasting color and texture to the outside. All in all I think it's an acceptable shot.

Only 18 more days....

Project 365 Day 336-Needs Work

After 5 years of riding by this slowly decaying/collapsing house, I finally made the drive out to it to photograph it: It is located in a rural/suburban area that is surrounded by subdivisions. There is a chicken coop behind the house that I didn't get to today, but maybe next time. I think what motivated me to get out and shoot this was the fact that I have the Rolleicord, which seemed like the perfect tool to document this piece of local history that is slowly fading away.

I took this about 30 minutes after sunrise this morning and developed the roll around lunchtime today. I used Ilford Delta 400 b&w film and developed it for 7 minutes in Ilford Ilfosol 3. By 5PM the negatives were dry and I was able to scan them in.

Three Columns And Stairs In Black And White

I'm really starting to enjoy seeking out scenes that might look better in black and white instead of color: Today, I was walking around outside our office during lunch and saw this composition of the building columns framing a stairway. I thought it would make a nice image for day 283 of my project 365:

I converted the image to to black and white using Silver Efex Pro, which I'm really starting to like.



Project 365 Day 282-Courtyard Tree In Black And White

Today was a busy day at work. As I was heading out of the office I figured I better find something to take a photo of for my project 365. It was kind of a cool, gray day her in Atlanta so I was thinking about shooting something that would look good in black and white. That's how I came to photograph the tree in our office building courtyard. It looked better to my eye in B&W than color. Here's the result: I ran the image through Silver Efex pro and once again I was very impressed with the results. I think it's getting easier for me to "see" in black and white and I'm looking forward to it.

Eat In Take Out

Today was a busy day. I got home from work a little late and then I had to get the grass cut because rain is likely this weekend. By the time I got done I was in no mood to make Dinner. So I did the next best thing, I called our favorite local Chinese restaurant to pick up some Mongolian Beef and Chicken with Broccoli to take home for Dinner. Their neon sign was glowing brightly in the window as I walked up to the door so I grabbed a quick shot for day 272 of my project 365.

A Taste Of The Bisti Badlands

I'm starting to work through all of the images that we took on our trip (man there are a lot) and I wanted to share a quick one from a very unique area that we visited, The Bisti Badlands. The Bisti is located about 40 miles South of Farmington, New Mexico so it's in the northwest corner of the state. I have wanted to visit the Bisti for a while. Pam, who grew up in Farmington, had never been there either so we made a point to set aside a morning to visit and hopefully get some good images. We got up at 4AM, staggered to the shower to wake up, had a strong cup of coffee and then started the 45 minute or so drive to the Bisti so we could get there for sunrise.  We got there just as the 1st rays of light were coming over the horizon. We got some good sunrise shots and then wandered into the badlands, not really knowing where to go (we'll get a map next time). Once the Sun came up a bit we were able to see some details of the landscape and began to head for all the neat looking rocks in the distance.

We found all kinds of things to photograph, many of which I plan on posting in the coming week or two but this image caught my eye as I was making my initial "run" through everything in Lightroom:

As you can see, this is one strange looking rock :-) They are officially called hoodoos but I think this one looked a little like an alien life-form frozen in stone. I had taken 3 bracketed shots of this so I combined them using the Enfuse for Lightroom plugin (which I reviewed a while back). I then took the image and ran it through Nik's Color Efex Pro to see what I could do to enhance the image a bit. I used the "detail extractor" to pull out the texture of the rock.

I've got a lot of images to go through and I'm looking forward to trying some of the filters in the Nik Software Lineup. I'd be interested in hearing from any of you who have used their products and have come up with some settings or "recipes" that seem to work well with landscape and nature photography.

Stay tuned for more images from the Bisti Badlands..........

Wolf Creek Pass Kenworth

I'm starting to work through all the images we took on our trip last week. While I spend a lot of time working on some of the images there are a few that we took that don't require much work at all. The following image is one of those and is my Project 365 image for September 5th: As we were driving to Farmington, New Mexico from Alamosa we drove over the famous, and sometimes dangerous, Wolf Creek Pass. We've gone over the pass in all kinds of weather over the last 25 years. Everything from rain, to sunshine, to a blinding blizzard. Thankfully, the weather this time was perfect! :-) Pam and I were taking our time and enjoying the view as we drove. When we got to the top of the pass we took a break to get out of the car and look around, like we always do.

This hard working, bug-splattered, Kenworth was taking a break after climbing up the West side of the pass(the steeper of the two sides), which summits at 10.857 feet. When I saw this truck I immediately thought of a song from C.W. McCall called "Wolf Creek Pass". I can safely say that C. W. McCall would be right at home with this Image!

Project 365 Day 217: Pig-N-Chik BBQ

Day 217 of my Project 365 found us craving some good barbeque. So we headed to Chamblee, GA and the Pig-N-Chik BBQrestaurant for lunch. I had the brisket and Pam had the Pork Ribs. Both were very good. They had a good selection of sides as well. I had the Collards and Broccoli while Pam had the slaw and Mac-n-Cheese. If you are in Atlanta and like BBQ, check out the Pig-N-Chik. There are multiple locations in the Atlanta area.