— Brene Brown
There’s something I’ve been looking forward to yet also resisting lately. That’s my decision to start a photo-365 self-assignment. Some of the other photographers in my club have been doing it and I’ve been planning to start this practice myself. It’s a way of forcing yourself to spend some time every single day for a year taking at least one photo every day.
This practice is intended to help you improve as a photographer. First, you get really familiar with your equipment. I was listening to Ibarionex Perello in an interview with Craig Semetko talking about getting to the point where you don’t even think about the shooting process any more. Craig said, "You’re not going to think about it any more and you’re just going to work on your vision."
They elucidated this further with the comment that it becomes not an intellectual process but more of a response to the situation. Yes. I want to get to that point. The point where the camera settings become second nature, where I instinctively know which way to turn the dials. Where I immediately know how much exposure compensation to add. Where choosing the focus point and getting that point in focus are effortless. And once I’ve approached that point, then I can concentrate more fully on choosing and framing the subject. On reacting instantaneously to a fleeting opportunity. And on realizing my vision.
But, the odd thing is I’ve been procrastinating. Until last week I was working full-time in a job unrelated to photography so I had an excuse. For a while, I was telling myself that I’d start my photo-a-day assignment when I got close to quitting my job. But that day came and went and I hadn’t started. Why not?? This sounds like fun! What a dream to be able to shoot every single day!
But, well, umm… the truth is I’ve been anxious about making the commitment. This practice does represent a real commitment. To take a photo every single day for a year, rain or shine. Whether I feel like shooting or not. Whether I’m inspired or not.
And I’ve been anxious about being exposed (so to speak 🙂 ). I’ve been planning to post my photo each day on a flickr group page where the other folks in my club are posting their photos. So, if other people are going to be seeing them I want to post something good. But can I manage to post something good every single day? In a word, no. Part of this practice is about experimenting, stretching, and trying new things. And whenever you do that you’re bound to have some failures. So, I’ve been putting off the day I get started because I don’t want people to see my failures.
So, finally I decided today is the day! I went out this morning, which happens to be hot and windy here in Southern California, and I saw a flag hanging from its staff by a single attachment point. It had obviously blown loose in the blustery wind. I thought to myself, “That’s interesting. That could be today’s shot.” And then it occurred to me that someone might interpret the shot as somehow unpatriotic or anti-American. And my anxiety and self-doubts kicked in. Maybe I shouldn’t use this as my photo. Maybe I should keep looking. After a few minutes of this I told myself, “This is what being an artist is all about. Confronting your self-doubts, feeling the fear, and going ahead anyway.” So, here is day 1.