Tuesday, December 31, 2013

An Experiment: Project 365

I have decided to do a photo Project 365 this year.  What is this, you may ask.  It's simply taking, processing, and sharing a photo Each Day for a year (the sharing may be weekly).  The important part is taking the photos, with the hope of improving my technique, eye, skills, photo processing, etc.

This will be both an educational effort and an outreach effort.  I'll update my blog with notes, tools, techniques, issues, successes, and the like as they occur throughout the year (if I make it that far).  I look forward to suggestions and feedback on my progress!  It will also be an experiment in self discipline.

I first heard about Project 365 a few years ago from a fellow photographer and Isshinryu (一心流) karateka (空手家), Sensei Joe Bennett at the Dillsburg Karate Academy.  He has posted many fantastic pictures he has taken this year via his own Project 365!

These links have some ideas on starting a Project 365 and sharing your work:  Digital Photography School and Photojojo.

Why do it?
  • Improving my photographic skills
  • Outreach on tools, techniques, etc., especially open source photographic tools
  • Building self discipline 
  • Having a record of the year to document my successes
How to do it?  

The Photojojo site has some tips:
  1. Bring your camera everywhere (except where not allowed. as we are in the DC area)
  2. Make posting easy, use blogs, Flicker, etc.
  3. Vary your themes, capture a day's events in a single photo  
  4. Tell a story, explain what's going on in each photo
  5. Don't stop, no matter what 
  6. Post early, post often, don't get behind 
Challenges I found in 2014:
  • I could not bring a camera to work and take pictures during the day.
  • During the winter it was dark when I got to work and dark going home.
  • Some days, I had little for a theme (I got up, I went to work, I went home).
  • I processed and posted pictures typically every week, which was adequate.
  • I posted my pics to Facebook, but did post to Shutterfly or other sites (yet).
  • I got sick during the summer and had to stop, essentially abandoning the project 1/2 way through the year, but I hope to restart for 2015.
Project applications:

To help you with your project, there are even applications for your iPhone/iPad and Android device.  (I have not tested either application and do not endorse them.  Your mileage may vary.)  I do not plan on using these applications as I use a lot of different cameras throughout the year.


I plan on using multiple cameras for multiple techniques.  My favorite is my Canon EOS 50D, but I use other cameras including my older Digital Rebel XT, an old Nikon CoolPix, iPhone, Android phone, film (Canon AE1, if I can ever remember to get the film processed), and even my Raspberry Pi camera.  I might use webcams and even my Celestron handheld digital microscope (yes, it works GREAT with Linux).  My Atrix HD cell phone takes nice pictures in good lighting using HDR mode.  What camera would you use?

Posting sites:

I plan on using a site like the 365 project site or Photoblog.com to post my pictures, and I will update Facebook and my Shutterfly wadesfavorites site.  I might just setup a page on the Shutterfly site?  Do you have a favorite photo site?

What subjects will I be photographing?  
  • The upcoming wedding of Will and Gina in March (and events leading to it)
  • Family events, gatherings, birthdays, etc.
  • Kingsley LakeYankeetownGainesville and my other favorites in Florida
  • Virginia Tech and the journey to/from VT to visit my son and daughter
  • Astronomy, space science, and related events
  • Technology including Raspberry Pi, Arduino, Papilio, embedded Linux, etc.
  • Outreach events including astronomy, karate, Linux, open source, and scouting
  • Stafford County and other locations near home (VA, DC, MD, WV, PA)
  • Master Hovey's dojo and events, and other Isshin-Ryu events
  • Anything that strikes me as interesting
  • Anything I can find to take a picture of at the last minute to keep on track (see #5 above)
Update 1/12/14:
  • I've started and kept with it for 12 days!
  • So far, I have mainly shared my pictures on Facebook.
  • I continue to mainly use my cellphone camera as I have it with me nearly always plus it takes nice HDR pictures (but needs a lot of light).
  • The rain has made it challenging to find outdoor subjects lately....
  • It is dark when I leave for work and dark when I get home this time of year which makes taking pictures during the week challenging -- this will be the hardest part (maybe use something inside?).
Update 1/22/14:
  • I'm still with it, barely.
  • This is far harder than I imagined and takes a lot of time.  
  • Some days like today I just to to my home office/lab and find something to experiment with.  Luckily I have the Raspberry Pi, microscope, LASERs, and lots of toys. I also have used the photo backgrounds in my basement studio.  Lots more to come....
Update 2/6/14:
  • This is VERY hard to do when you are sick.  One day I just pointed the camera at a cool blob of snow and with some editing it was my picture of the day.
  • Not having a camera during week days during the day (hence sunlight) adds to the challenges.
  • I am really, really looking forward to longer, warmer days with more sunlight.
Update 10/16/14:
  • I did not take many of the pictures I had hopped as the wedding did not happen in March, I was not able to attend a lot of the events I had planned, and my travel this year was very limited (once again no trips to FL).
  • I had to abandon this project for this year (2014) as I had health issues.  After an operation in July (no, not a lobotomy), I'm recovering nicely, but lost my entire summer (I am still trying to figure how I can get that back?).
  • I plan on restarting my Project 365 for 2015 - suggestions on subjects, cameras, and lenses are welcomed!   
Cameras used in 2014:
  • Canon 50D - multiple lenses and controllable via Gphoto2 on Fedora
  • Canon Digital Rebel II (350D)
  • Atrix HD phone camera - best in HDR mode, very poor for low-light
  • Apple iPhone 4
  • Samsung GalaxyTab 3
  • Raspberry Pi - essentially a 5MP phone camera, weak, but it is scriptable
  • Celestron digital microscope - really nice handheld microscope/webcam
Planned Cameras for 2015:
  • All of the above used in 2014
  • multiple webcams
  • iPhone 5
  • Samsung GalaxyTab 2 and 3
  • Nikon CoolPix (3MP but nice pictures)
  • Canon AE1 Program (film camera, maybe)


  1. This is such a great idea--thanks for gathering so many links to resources here. I've looked at some daily photo projects over the years and been amazed at the diversity of images and the sense you get of the photographer's personality through the choices of daily image. I'm also fascinated by the self-portraits taken daily through the years.

  2. Very few self-portraits here -- I'm not photogenic (except when behind the lens as in my background image).