Beginnings

(Three flowers.)

Dawn points, and another day
Prepares for heat and silence. Out at sea the dawn wind
Wrinkles and slides. I am here
Or there, or elsewhere. In my beginning.

~ T. S. Eliot

Back in May of 2009 I began a 365 photo challenge in which I would take and post a photo every day for a year.  I started out well enough and then life (and death) happened.  I did not want to finish the project.  About the time I was ready to quit I read an article written by a professional photographer explaining why he thought 365 photo challenges were a bad idea.  It was his opinion that taking and posting a photo every day for a year did not improve one’s photography skills, and worse yet, the requirement of posting a photo every day meant that more often than not (in his opinion) one would start posting bad photos just for the sake of posting something, anything.  He seemed to think this would not be good for one’s professional reputation (if one wanted to be a professional photographer, that is).

Because I was looking for an excuse to quit, I tended towards agreeing with the gentleman and that was that.  I gave up.

(Goldenrod reflections.)

Fast forward to May of this year when I signed up for NaBloPoMo.  The theme for the month was Look Up.  Early into the month, on May 6, I posted Look Up:  The redbud.  Someone at WordPress took notice and my post was one of those featured on Freshly Pressed.  Also featured that day was a post by Kathy at Lake Superior Spirit.  I clicked on the link to her post and I’ve been a regular visitor to Kathy’s blog since that time.

(Purple flowers in the timothy grass.)

Before Lake Superior Spirit, Kathy had another blog called Opening the door, walking outside.  On the winter solstice in 2008, she began her adventures with a 365 day “commitment to step outside and explore the outdoors.”  I’ve been to visit this blog as well, dipping in every now and then to see where her adventure led her.

This has inspired me to start my own 365 day commitment to step outside and explore the outdoors beginning on September 23, 2010.  Why September 23?  Because autumn is my favorite time of year.  I think kicking this off on the first full day of my favorite season will make for a good beginning.

(September leaves.)

You’re probably thinking that I already get outside and explore the outdoors every day.  Not so, my dear readers.  Sometimes I go several days in a row without sticking my nose, much less my entire body, outside the front or back door.  This is especially true during the winter months.  Some days I just don’t feel like putting on all of the layers needed to go out into the harsh cold of winter.

(The bumblebee in the jewelweed.)

Having failed at one 365 commitment, I don’t want to fail again.  That is why I am posting about it.  “They” (those so-called experts) say that if you want to succeed at something, make sure you let everyone know what you’re doing.  That way you can’t quit.  Well, you can.  And I did.  But it would be awfully embarrassing to fail again so I am taking a “no excuses” approach this time around.  There really is no reason at all I should not be able to honor this commitment fully.

I thought about starting another blog for my outdoor adventures, but have decided that two blogs are plenty and there is no reason I need to separate it from Life in the Bogs.  The plan is to include something (a photo, a few words, whatever comes to mind) about my daily adventures in my daily posts.  I will set up a separate page where I can highlight some of those adventures.

I have also decided to limit how many photographs I take while out and about on my daily walks.  I’ve noticed that with the advent of bigger memory cards, I’ve become a somewhat lazy photographer.  Instead of taking the time to really look at what I’m shooting, I click away like a maniac with no discernment.  I end up with a lot of bad photos.  Really bad photos.  For example, I took a series of photos of a steam engine that M and I went to see on Sunday.  None of the shots came out well.  None.

(Approaching train.)

That one there is one of the best of the lot and you can see that it is somewhat blurry.

So.  I need to slow down a little.  Limiting how many photos I can take on my daily outings will help me do that.  I decided on the number 15.  It’s an odd number, I know.  But it seems like just enough to me.  I will have to stop and think about what I’m shooting before I point and click.  I will allow the occasional exception if something extraordinary happens that requires fast and numerous captures.  Otherwise, 15 it is.  I should be able to get one or two good shots with that many to choose from and if not, oh well.  I won’t be posting photos from my walk that day.

(Afternoon view of the pond.)

So please join me here on September 23rd, the first full day of fall, as I embark on my own outdoor adventures here in the Bogs and wherever we travel to over the next year.  I think it’s going to be great fun as well as a learning experience.  And if you’re in the mood for a big commitment, get outside with me and post about your own adventures.

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17 Comments on “Beginnings”

  1. Brian says:

    I’ll be here with bells on. I agree that digital cameras make me lazy. On the other hand, having spent thousands of dollars on development of negatives, I can’t be too picky.

    • Robin says:

      I’ll be listening for your bells, Brian. 🙂

      You have a good point about the thousands of dollars spent on the development of negatives and, in my case, not always on good pictures. The laziness may well be a good trade off as at least laziness is something I can change.

  2. Anna says:

    Robin, I enjoyed what you shared and I am looking forward to your challenging 365. Sept. 23 is definitely a great day to start and perhaps beginning with autumn your photos will have a more reflective slant as the autumn and winter times are more of reflective seasons. I’d like to do 365 where I would go out every day for a fresh photo; however, time doesn’t permit with all I have going on. I, though, have admired those in blog land and in galleries who have done the 365 challenge. All the best to you. 🙂

  3. Kathy says:

    Way to go, Robin! I am so happy that you are doing this! (If I hadn’t made a public announcement that I would do the 365 day outdoor commitment, it would have failed for sure.) Tip #1: do not believe your mind or feelings when they begin to tell you all the reasons you can’t go outdoors. Because once you go outside, it’s always worth it and the excuses will dwindle away. OK, maybe they won’t when it’s -15 degrees, but then you get exhiliarated because you did it anyway. #2: did you set a time limit? I finally decided on a half hour. Reasonable, it seemed. Some days I had to go outside two or three times to make the commitment; other days it was easy to stay out an hour or two. Good luck with your challenge! It will change your life…

    • Robin says:

      Thank you so much for the tips, the encouragement, and the inspiration, Kathy! 😀

      I hadn’t thought about setting a time limit. Good idea. Otherwise, I might stick my nose out the door for 2 seconds and call it a success. A half hour seems reasonable to me, too (as does splitting it up on those below zero days).

      So. A half hour it is. 🙂

  4. Congratulations on making this committment, Robin! If these photos (except the train, I see what you mean) are an example of photos yet to come, I, for one, can’t wait to share the 365 days with you!

    • Robin says:

      Thank you, Joanne. I’m looking forward to sharing. 🙂

      (I corrected it but… ooops… I accidentally put an “a” at the end of your name instead of an “e.” Pardon the typo.

  5. Karma says:

    Wow, Robin! Best wishes! I will look forward to checking in on your adventure. I’d like to do something like that, and I’m sure my dogs would love me for doing it, but I just can’t imagine making myself go outside when it is sleeting or blizzarding out! I’d rather be insides baking something, LOL. I had no idea that both you and Kathy were featured on Freshly Pressed! Very cool! I’ve started reading some of Kathy’s adventures, as well. I might start a smaller commitment – similar to a NaBloPoMo, but not exactly.

    • Robin says:

      Thank you, Karma. 🙂

      Well, I can’t say I’m looking forward to being out in the sleet (or cold rain when it is not yet cold enough to snow or sleet), but I don’t mind a blizzard so much. I rather like the snow. But we’ll see how I feel about that when I’m not in the mood to go out and have to force myself to do so. lol!

      Starting small is good. It’s worked well for me (so far). I started with something smaller and less public.

  6. Karma says:

    Oh, I was so excited about your announcement that I forgot to tell you how much I loved the first photo here!

  7. Kala says:

    Love the bokeh lights in the first image & I wish you success AND enjoyment with your 365.

  8. Marcie says:

    Wonderful collection of images. Especially love the train…
    And – I’ll be looking forward to joining you on your new adventure!!!

  9. Nickie says:

    Lovely idea. Inspired. 🙂


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