I have to confess, it's a bit hard to wrap my mind around the fact that, after 380 posts containing 3785 pictures, I've reached the last day of my year-long photographic adventure. Needless to say, I have many thoughts rolling around in my head about the entire experience. But first, today's photos.
As the calendar rolled over to December, I began thinking about what I wanted to feature in this, the final post of the year. But even though I kicked around various ideas, one in particular felt like the right way to go pretty much from the moment it occurred to me. So I'm ending my project the same way I began it—with photos of Kaylee, curled up and looking adorable in her favorite chair:
A couple of close-ups:
And one last wide shot:
First things first: yes, I do plan on continuing to take photos and post them to this blog after today. If nothing else, my mom has mentioned a few times how much she's looking forward to seeing what I come up with during our stay in Hawaii next month, so I'll definitely be sharing pictures from there. And I'll still be bringing my camera along with me whenever I go anywhere, just in case I see something that interests or inspires me.
But I do want to take at least a few days off to recharge my batteries, so to speak. For one, I can barely remember what it's like to come home after work and be able to do absolutely nothing but read or watch television. And I also think, or at least hope, that when I'm taking photos because I want to, not necessarily because I have to, the results will be even better. Don't get me wrong, though—I have a feeling that if I could go back and chart my brainwaves I'd find it was on the days I didn't necessarily feel like doing so that I learned the most about how to take a picture. And because of that knowledge and experience, I know that going forward I'll have a much better chance of making sure my photographs come out exactly the way I want them to.
Sitting here right now, on the last day of the year, I'm finding it's really hard to try and summarize what this project and experience has been like or what it's meant to me. There's all the technical stuff I've learned about cameras and photography, things like aperture and shutter speed, although I'd also say I now know enough to realize how much more there is to learn. I've also picked up a lot about framing and composition, and I've gotten better at paying attention to everything I'm seeing through the lens, not just what I intend the main focus of the picture to be. And my photo editing skills have improved greatly, mostly in order to make up for my shortcomings as a photographer.
Then there's all the cool things I've seen over the course of the year, moments I never would have enjoyed if it hadn't been for this project, like watching a gray fox walk by, less than a stone's throw away from where I stood. All the different birds I'd never seen before: mergansers, egrets, warblers, and yesterday's starling, to name a few. Having an otter come so close I seriously started considering which direction I should jump if it decided it didn't like me. My quest to get a good photograph of a kingfisher over at Howell's Pond.
Most of all, though, this project has taught me a lot about looking at the world around me. Of all the photos I've taken all year, the entry that got the most hits wasn't the one with the gray fox, or a bird post, or one filled with doggie cuteness. It was a post from August when I photographed rain drops clinging to the plants growing next to my apartment. Something simple, the kind of thing we've all seen countless times over the course of our lives. On that one day, though, whether it was inspiration or desperation, I really looked at what I was seeing, and then did my best to convey at least some of the beauty I discovered in that ordinary moment. Even though I'm sure I still miss a lot, I also notice much more than I used to. And I figure any way you look at it, that can only be a good thing.
Finally, I have to express my gratitude to my family and friends for all of their love and encouragement, as well as say thank you to everyone who visited, read, and commented over the course of the year; there were a number of times I doubted myself or considered bailing on this whole thing, but your support and belief in what I was doing helped me carry me through those times my own faith deserted me.
I'll see you all in 2011.