Year 25 Project: Complete

Year 25 Collage - SmallThis evening I uploaded a picture taken on May 18th, and with that my Year 25 project is complete. I took a shot every day but one: an inexplicable m0rk on December 17th.

I have mixed feelings about the final result. In some ways it’s not what I intended. I wanted each picture to represent the day, and many don’t. Plenty were taken at 2330 when I got home and realised I hadn’t done anything. I intended the project to force me into taking pictures of places and people I don’t normally photograph, but this rarely happened. For example, I started uni in September, but there are no proper images of my fellow students as I never plucked up the courage to ask them – despite them also studying photography.

There are also way too many taken on my mobile phone. This always seemed like a good idea – usually because of some rationalisation about not getting my camera out of my bag due to safety/annoying people / whatever – then I’d get home and realise the results suck.

But, having said all that, there are still plenty of photos that do represent their day, and were taken with a proper camera. I’m happy with many, and am glad I actually managed to complete the thing.

I’ve also definitely improved over the year, and I can see the images evolve. I taught myself the basics of balancing flash with ambient light, I now understand the concept of formal image composition, even if I’m not very good at it, and I’m slowly getting better at predicting the look of the final exposure before clicking the shutter. I also finally sat down and learnt how to use Lightroom, and suddenly I could properly control the shadow and highlight points while editing – I think there’s a marked improvement in the image quality thereafter.

It’s also had the intended memory-bank effect. I checked over the set this evening – there were a few omissions / duplicates, and my pride at the final 365 total was dented when I realised it’s a leap year – and kept spotting and thinking about little events I’d forgotten, which is quite pleasant. My 25th year had sad days, happy days, scary-exciting days, celebrities, and plenty of monkeys – it’ll be fun to dig through in a few years.

So it’s a mixed bag. There are more than a few images that made me wince while uploading, and again now, but there are some that came out better than I remembered, and a few I’m very happy with. I didn’t learn as much from it as I hoped, but it wasn’t a waste of time either.

I’m going to make a Blurb book of the results. I don’t have a properly colour-balanced setup, so I’ll have to play the odds and just hope they resemble what I see on screen. I’m currently struggling to download all the images and keep them in order (I don’t have a local copy, sadly), but I’m sure I’ll find a way. However it turns out, it should make a neat little momento.

Is there a Year 26 Project? So far, yes. I’ve been toying with 52 Portraits or similar, but as I’ve got into the habit I see no reason not to continue for the moment. Objectives for this year:

  • Be brave
  • Take fewer, better shots, on decent equipment
  • Check and double-check the goddamn focus (I hate hate hate it when the focus is off)
  • Learn more about lighting, and put it into practice
  • Take more portraits
  • Be brave

I think that’s enough to be going along with.