Nearing the end of the road

No, not the apocalypse or anything daft like that. I’m referring to nearing the completion of my first photographic 365 project. If you don’t know what I mean, this is a photographic project where the photographer takes one image a day for a year. 2012 was a leap year, and I thought it might be fun to try my hand at such a project for the 366 days. As I am hopeless at finding photographic subjects to fill even an hour, I settled on the one thing I could pretty much guarantee to occur every day—my breakfast!

Toast in a toaster.
Yet another artsy shot of toast in my toaster.

This image is number 355, which means I have 11 images to capture to the end of the year. After that, I won’t have to fret over taking yet another artsy shallow depth of field image of our toaster. I can just get down to eating the first meal of the day without feeling the compulsion to point a camera at it.

I’m not sure how I feel about that.

Part of me is glad the marathon is nearly over, happy to have made it through the entire year—because, despite the rumours, the world won’t end tomorrow and I will still be photographing breakfast until 31 December. Another part of me is wondering if I should be considering taking on another long term project like this.

I have to admit, restricting my subject matter has meant I have had to work harder to make an interesting image, even though I haven’t had to find the subject. It would have been so easy just to take a picture of the toaster every day, but I wanted to explore the subject matter. Indeed, I revelled in the possibility of a breakfast other than toast! Several times in the year I have been at a small café, tucking into a cooked breakfast, after having elicited odd looks from passers-by as I tried to capture it with my camera! I’ve stayed with my parents a few times over the year, which has also allowed for a slight variation. Happily, Mum and Dad weren’t phased by my antics.

For most of this project I have restricted myself, not just my subject matter, to using the same camera, same lens, same settings. Apart from one or two shots right at the very beginning when, rather ironically, I came down with a tummy bug and was sipping a glass of water and I didn’t feel in the mood to be clever, my set-up has been the Canon EOS 7D, 35mm ƒ/2 prime lens, aperture wide open, and the result cropped to square. Initially I was using the auto ISO feature, thinking this would cope well with the variable quality of the light through the year, but a Flickr friend suggested late in the summer I would be better served to fix the ISO at 800 to help get a faster shutter speed. The auto ISO wasn’t giving me the fastest possible shutter speed, and some camera shake was occasionally evident. Would that I could go back to January 1 and start again knowing that!

I have posted each image, mostly daily, on my Flickr photostream, and then tweeted the result. As well as sorting into my own sets and collections, I shared with a group. I guess each image has had about 20 views each day. I know there are one or two of my friends who are following my progress, commenting on the images, and occasionally wondering if they’ve missed my post (I have been late sometimes, and when I don’t have internet access I’ve uploaded them in a batch later). I’m just happy people have shown interest. I’ve also been happy to encourage others with their 366 projects. I know from other friends who have tried that there can be periods when you are stuck for a photo, so encouragement can be vital to keep your interest from flagging in the long days of summer.

Inevitably, thoughts turn to what happens next. I have an idea that I could turn the 366 images into some kind of book, perhaps an ebook. Perhaps I could create an online gallery, but then they’re all up there on Flickr anyway. As to further projects, doing another 365 is out of the question for me—unless I shoot my evening meal every day…

No. No, I won’t do it. Sorry. No way!

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