Thoughts on a 365-day Challenge

A little over a year ago I had the thought to do a 365-day challenge by posting one macro photo per day for the year 2014. I built up this website to host that challenge and to eventually put some of my other pictures up for public display. I learned a good deal during 2014; one of the more important of those things was that I probably will never do another 365-day challenge! 🙂

Some thoughts about the challenge are presented here in no particular order:

  • 365 days is a long time and you have no idea at the start what will happen during that time. In my case all was going well until the end of July when I woke to a great deal of pain. My back had decided to herniate a disk between L5 and S1. I could be comfortable horizontal or vertical but not at all sitting. That made taking pictures of any kind much more difficult. Fortunately, at that particular moment I had a little over a month of macro photos taken in advance so I never fell behind but had the problem happened a couple of weeks earlier that cache of photos would not have been available and the project likely would have failed. Epidurals and physical therapy have helped but even now I’m still fighting this problem.
  • Another thought involves equipment. Think through what you will need well in advance. If you are doing landscapes then you’ll likely need normal to wide-angle lenses and lots and lots of locations; not to mention transportation. In my case I started with a wide-angle macro lens. This required me to get very close to my subjects to take the macro photo; in some cases so close that the shadow from my camera and myself would sometimes block the lighting for the subject. A 90mm telephoto lens solved that problem but then introduced another in that I had to get far away to take the overall shot that showed the whole object. When my back gave out I had to expand my definition of “macro” to include the near micro range in order to use the 5 megapixel 50x to 200x microscope I found. At the start I never thought about those sorts of things.
  • Take notes of what you have already photographed during a challenge to avoid taking the same or very similar picture or subject during the challenge. About half way through the macro challenge I started to forget what I had already photographed and, at times, had to go back and look through the pictures.
  • All of the above points to another thought: If you are posting a 365-day challenge make certain you describe the challenge properly. I had to change the macro definition when I got the microscope (hope nobody noticed 🙂 ). But, I did one thing right in saying I was going to post one macro per day; not shoot one per day. That allowed me to take pictures and build pages in advance and use scheduling to post the pages exactly at 8am on the proper day. That was a lifesaver when the back problem arrived.
  • An important thought involves the pictures taken during a challenge. Sometimes, often most times, the pictures taken are taken to answer the challenge and not because they are good pictures that people will be interested in looking at. I built a little question/answer into my pages here which may have held some interest but, frankly, most of the pictures themselves are simply snapshots, taken in answer to the challenge and not pictures that would stand the test of time.

Pretty much all of the thoughts above point to the fact that you likely won’t be seeing any more 365-day challenges here on this website.

Now, I have to get started posting some of my better pictures instead.

Thanks for playing along if you did play along. If you really want to see a particular day’s macro, there is an index available.