Winter time

Sunrise through a frosted window

Sunrise through a frosted window

It is a pretty day here in the Bogs.  Mostly sunny with occasional snow squalls.  I like watching the squalls move in on big, fluffy clouds of white and gray and blue.

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(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.