I spent the month of January doing something I have never done before. A guided photo-a-day challenge! I enjoyed it so much that I wanted to share it with you.
Basically, a guided photo-a-day challenge is when the host of the challenge provides brief prompts for each day of the month and participants take a photo to represent that particular theme. Here are some that I’ve seen:
During the month of January, I decided to participate in One Story Down’s Photo-A-Day Challenge. It’s funny how quickly it became a part of my daily routine. I really looked forward to spending 10 minutes each evening hunting down something to shoot.
For me, in this cold Canadian winter, January is a time of limited light and typically one of my lowest shooting months. Not this year! I took a ton of photos for the challenges and, I think because I had the camera out anyway, I took a lot more photos in general.
I’m going to share some of the photos I took and resulting thoughts I had about each one.
For me, the morning starts with a perfectly brewed cup of coffee. I like it hot, topped with a splash of milk. It helps my brain get going! In the afternoon, I drink green tea. It’s warm and refreshing. It may even be healthy, too. In the evening, I have a cup of orange pekoe or earl grey tea. So that mug you see above is an important part of my day. A cup o’ comfort.
I used to burn candles all the time. In our first little apartment, my husband and I had candlelit dinners every night. We used to burn candles on the mantle or window sill in the evenings, while we puttered around or watched TV.
As the years went by, and we had our first baby, we stopped lighting candles. Dinners with our firstborn were rushed because she had evening colic. As she grew older, we worried about the safety of lit candles near a toddler so we put most of them away.
Now our kids are three and six and a half years old. I have two big, deep hurricane-style candle holders on the dining table. During dinner, I light the candles deep inside the hurricanes and dim the overhead lights. The kids are fascinated by the candles. Some of our dinners last thirty or forty minutes – a record with small children! We have one rule: The candles cannot be blown out until everyone at the table is finished eating (and my husband and I take our time!). The kids won’t leave because they both want to have a chance to blow out one candle each (while we supervise closely, of course). Our candlelit dinners are back – and promote a nice family meal.
Sundays are pretty typical around here. House cleaning, meal planning, groceries, laundry – all the little things that need to get done before the week ahead. So, when I saw that the photo prompt word for Sunday was “people”, I was a bit nervous. This is my den-day where it’s just my little family. At first, I was going to include a photo of my people (my husband and kids), but because of nap time and a must-watch showing of the Little Prince on television, that wasn’t going to happen.
Then I remembered the other peeps who live in our house: the Little People. They’ve been residing in a big bucket in our playroom for several years. The kids go through phases where they love to play with them and other times where they don’t remember they exist. With my son turning three years old, I wonder how much longer the Little People will live here? It’ll be the end of an era.
The challenge was to find something old. This is my Sweet Sixteen ring. It’s impossible to capture the beautiful fire in the opal and the sparkle of the two diamonds. I’ve loved it ever since the first moment I received it, almost 18 years ago. And I can’t believe it was that long ago!
The prompt was “round”. I wasn’t up for anything too labour-intensive to set up so I present to you a shot of the round decorative texture thing-y that lives in a vase in my office. It serves no purpose – except for when it saved my photo-a-day streak!
I took a photo of the change from my purse and realized that those brown pennies wouldn’t be a part of my life any more because Canada just retired the penny from circulation. It’s the end of an era!
Here are some of my observations about the challenge:
- The prompts helped me take photos of things I would never have thought to take photos of on my own. This stretched my photography skills in a good way.
- The prompts made me think about parts of my daily life that I had not thought to scrapbook before. I was actively on the hunt for meaningful photos for each prompt all month long. It is amazing how one word each day can bring forward great memories to document.
- I took plenty of family photos during the challenge – but the majority of my challenge photos were shots of objects around my house.
- Most of my photos were taken in the evening, long after the kids went to bed. I enjoyed a chance to photograph using a macro lens and setting up the best lighting I could.
- I found myself playing with the post-processing of the images in a way that I wouldn’t with regular family photos. I used a lot of RadLab stylets and matte Lightroom presets from Bellevue Avenue.
And, in the end, I was so happy to be able to put this together, showcasing all the photos together:
It was a great month!