52 Project: 2015

This post is extra-wordy and about scrap-booking/memory-keeping/photography so if you aren’t interested, check out the latest volume of Forest Says here.

I’m not sure where the idea originated – probably with a popular photography blog – but I ran across the idea to do a “365 project” two Christmases ago when I first got my Canon DSLR.  The concept is simple: take one picture a day, every day, for a whole year.  A lot of the projects I saw focused on 1 picture of your child every day but other projects were just moments/objects from the day.  The point is to get more comfortable using your camera.  And I can image that people who do this project would notice their pictures getting better over time.

I made a resolution at the beginning of 2014 to take one picture a day, even if it was of a random object, so I could get more comfortable using my camera.  My goal was to self-teach myself to use my camera in manual mode.

That resolution, like most, lasted less than 2 months.  I wasn’t feeling inspired as I took pictures of water bottles or my feet.  And on weeknights, I was taking pictures in poor light since I waited until I got home from work and in the winter it’s dark by 4pm.  So I struggled and complained and stopped taking pictures every day.

bad photo collage for blog post

I didn’t stop taking pictures completely.  I just stopped taking one every day.  I mostly used my camera on auto and I was content.  I was getting better pictures than I was with my point-and-shoot and I really enjoyed using my DSLR.  I did get some really good pictures every once in awhile.

good photos for blog post

My friend, Rachele, and I took a photography class in September and I’ve almost exclusively been using manual mode since then.  Yay!  And one of my Christmas gifts was Lightroom, a photo editing software, which I’ve REALLY enjoyed using to make minor adjustments to my pictures.

photos after a class

Here were are at (sort of) the beginning of a new year and I had the itch to try a project 365 again, but on a smaller scale.  I’m going to do a 52 project: at least one picture a week for a whole year.  I know with everything that’s going to happen this year (travels, a baby coming, birthdays, family visiting, etc.) I wouldn’t realistically be able to stay on top of taking 1 picture every day.  52 project should remove the frustration of taking pictures in the evening during the winter – I’ve learned to take pictures in poor lighting PLUS I can choose to take my picture during the daylight on a Saturday or Sunday – and I won’t feel completely overwhelmed when/if I fall behind.

So there’s what I’ll be doing.  Here’s how I’ll be documenting it!

I’ve been following several blogs – some photography, some lifestyle – that utilize a system called Project Life.  Created by Becky Higgins to “take the complication out of scrapbooking and give you a simple system to document your story while still living your life.”

I’ve always been interested in memory-keeping.  When I was younger, middle school aged, I would buy – or beg my parents to buy – the disposable cameras.  I would take two with me to summer camp, use one on Christmas Day, take one or two to the last day of school, use one for my birthday party, etc., etc.  I looooved dropping the camera off at Wal-Mart, picking the prints up a week later and remembering the moments I had captured.  The same thing when my parents upgraded me to a point-and-shoot digital camera.  I would send the images to Walgreens, pick up the prints a couple days later and sort through for the best ones to stick in my albums or scrapbook.

Yep, I scrapbooked.  I think I only completed one scrapbook myself (it was expensive for a middle/high school girl with her only income as allowance) but I helped my mom finish one each for my brother and I, from birth to graduation.  Through high school and college I took TOO MANY pictures, printed them at Walgreens and stuffed them in albums and boxes for safe-keeping.

A few years ago, I started making a family yearbook (read more about that here) that I’ve always enjoyed pulling together.  I’m actually in the process of finishing our 2014 album so I can get that ordered and we can add it to our collection.  But I wanted to do something different for my 52 project.  This is where Becky HigginsProject Life comes into play.

I think most of the people who use Project Life document every week by compiling pictures and journaling into a spread.  I’ve read some blogs that are only concerned with documenting each month – which is how I usually plan our family yearbooks.

I’ve decided to use the small 6×8 album and pocket pages.  I’ll only be using 1 picture a week so I won’t need to use a larger album that has space for multiple pictures and journaling in the pocket pages.  It also helps that I found a 6×8 Project Life album at Michael’s for 50% off.  I’m not sure why it was there, it seems like Michael’s only carries the 12×12 albums, but I snagged it up along with the 50% off set of 12 pocket pages.  I decided on the Coral Edition Core Kit that I found at Hobby Lobby over the weekend (and purchased with a 40% off coupon).

I’m really excited to get started and I’m sure I’ll share my progress as I go because… why not?!  Also because I’ve been terrible about doing weekly prints on the blog.  It seemed like a genius idea at the time but unrealistic because of time.  I’ll still post pictures as they accumulate but until I settle into a schedule/routine of taking the pictures off of my camera, weekly just isn’t gonna work.

I’m going to have the first 4 weeks of 52 project pictures printed soon so I can get my Project Life album filled!

Until next time — Cindy

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