Last year, on Valentine's Day, it started -- the take-your-camera-everywhere, late-night scramble-for-a-photo madness of 365 days in photos. And here we are today, many batteries later, my Samsung and I, old friends. We both have our moments -- sometimes he switches to video mode without telling me, sometimes I drop him out of my back pocket into the road-- but we're both still functional, for the most part.
So, here it is, my year in photographs, along with a few things I've learnt along the way.
Discovery: The flash is not my friend. It's been turned off since June. If the light's bad enough that I need a flash, there's no point taking the picture.
Tip: Never take a photo of yourself in a green mud mask and expect people to say flattering things.
Discovery: Taking photos at work seemed boring and desperate at the time, but now those shots are some of the most telling in looking at how my life has changed.
Tip: Photos of fried food will never look tasty, no matter how good the food was.
Tip: When inspiration runs thin, taking photos of the same old things, but from above, can hold you over until the 365 excitement returns.
Discovery: Looking back at the photos, it's always the close-ups that grab my attention, but it's nice to have a few larger-scope photos to help capture the atmosphere of the month.
Discovery: Taking a photo-a-day in those first few months of having Tilly often made me feel like I'd actually accomplished something that day, and worked wonders towards me feeling like a functional human again!
Discovery: Though I haven't beaten my slight fear of public photography, I have gotten much much quicker at whipping out the camera and taking the shot before anyone notices.
Tip: Sometimes it's the mistakes that make the most memorable photos. A blurred leg here, and sneeze-on-camera there, it all helps to recall the real feeling of the year.
Discovery: Who'd have thought photos of feet were so interesting (to me, at least) and addictive?
Tip: As well as all of the regular baby milestones, we've really enjoyed taking Tilly's photo at each of our favourite restaurants and cafes -- her first plate of IKEA meatballs is a big step in this family!
Tip: A very easy home-studio for staging shots can be made from two white sheets of poster board, propped together at a right-angle. The white board reflects light onto your subject, and gives you a blank background.
Discovery: There are several lists of weekly themes out there on the Web for 365ers needing inspiration. When challenged with the theme of 'macro' shots, some new perspectives were found.
Discovery: As with many things, taking photos begets more photo taking. So while at the start, one photo a day was often a challenge, now it's become natural to take a picture of anything of interest.
And what happens at the end, you might wonder? Do I put my camera on a shelf, and breathe a sigh of relief? Put the lens cover on and give my trusty Samsung a rest?
Not on your life! Call me ambitious, but I'd like to commit, right now, to taking a photo-a-day every day for the rest of my life. Off we go again, The Year of the Rabbit in photos...