Aaron is one man that needs no introduction around here. He's an active voice in almost every discussion I look at and has been a real help to the site. Not to mention his brilliance at photography and inspiring myself and countless others.

Thanks Aaron for taking the time to share your experience on 365 Project with the community!

What made you decide to take on the 365 Project?


I purchased my first SLR in 1985, and for several years was pretty passionate about photography. Then as happens so often in life, other priorities took over and my camera was boxed up and placed on the back burner. 365 was a way for me to become reacquainted with photography, by "forcing" me to constantly think about it. There have been some tough weeks, but it's been an overwhelmingly successful endeavor that I look forward to every day!

I see you were into photography before you started - how did the project expand your knowledge, and teach you new things?


Having started out in film, I thought I had a pretty good handle on the basics (focus, aperture, etc.), but after seeing some of the artistic work on 365 I discovered I really had no idea! My "mission" when I started this relationship with 365 was to reconnect with photography and IMPROVE. Many join 365 to catalog their daily activities over the year, but my primary motivation was to become a better photographer. This community makes it SO easy to improve; most people are very open with their techniques, and when they want to keep something a mystery that just stirs up my creative juices and I find a way to fold new techniques into my own style. If I find I'm unmotivated or lacking in creativity, there are at least a half-dozen "themes" to join in on for a challenge.

What cameras have you been using for your project – do you have a favourite?


I used a total of 62 cameras for my first year (I'm a huge film fan), most of which can be found in my main 365 album in the months of April and May 2011. Now I use about 20, only two of which are digital.
My favorite is whatever one I am using on any given day, today that happens to be my 1954 Zeiss Ikon Contessa (folding version). A lovely little metered rangefinder I rescued from a pile of discarded "broken" cameras. So to nail it down to a favorite is difficult for me, as each give me a unique perspective or challenge; but if you insist …
My favorite film SLR would have to be my 1985 Ricoh XR-P. Built in the era of hugely popular Nikon and Canon systems, you don't hear much about Ricoh; but even owning the other two competitors, I still like the Ricoh best!
Concerning old film Rangefinders, I would have to choose my 1952 Leica IIIf. Everything about it is mechanical; and all of the mechanics are on the outside; very "steampunk" in it's form and function. And it takes an excellent photo!
Twin Lens Reflex would have to be my 1952 Rolleiflex 2.8C.
Medium Format is my 1966 Rolleiflex SL66, which is so unique with it's built-in tilt lens billows and reversible lenses that you can't help but love it!
Pre-WWII would be my 1930 Voigtlander Bessa, and while not in the best of shape it just connects the user with the art of photography because it is so raw in it's simplicity.
Best digital would be my Canon 5D Mark II; it takes a great shot, and even better it takes a beating; because if there's one think I'm known for, it would be that I put my cameras in harm's way nearly every day! My 5D is on the ground, in the rain, balanced over a stream, thrown into the air, buried in snow, and anything else you can imagine, and it handles it all like a champ!
Ya, I could go on and on! :)

Is there a particular style of photography you enjoy the most?


I bounce around so much it's hard to pin down a favorite "style." I really like landscape, but I grew up shooting nature so wanted to avoid much of that so I could challenge myself with other styles. I can definitely say getting a puppy was a watershed event for me, having never really taken animal or pet shots. To this day I would say getting a great action shot of my dogs doing their doggy things gives me the best feeling. Also, having never really gotten great bird shots (not through lack of trying I assure you), I really admire those who can. If I had to pick a style I enjoy most though, it would be macro. It's amazing how much time can slip by when I visit the world of macro; it makes me see many things so differently and is certainly one of my best remedies when I feel I am stuck and unmotivated.

What kept you going throughout the first year of your project?


Definitely the 365 community. While not a perfectionist, I am pretty strict with my own photographic endeavors and hate it when all I have to show at the end of the day is something I'm disappointed with. That's when I turn to the community; I check out other photos and read through the discussions. I peruse the Popular Page and check out the on-going challenges. I read through some of the most recent blogs, and even dig into the archives. It doesn't take long to rekindle the motivation, and it's all due to how active 365 is. I do know I would not have been able to complete my first year without it.

And what kept you snapping after your first year?


Wow, there is just SO much more to be done! While I have dabbled in a very wide range of subjects and styles, for every "thing" I investigate, two more things seem to take its place. I keep a folder for "photographic ideas" and there is easily enough in there to keep me shooting for years! 365 is just SO diverse, great photographers are doing something completely different every day; which is very motivating. I can't imagine stopping; I feel as though I've only just scratched the surface! In fact, I filled all three albums the first year (and then some); I have been known to mention that I really could use three more albums (is there an Ace Plus option? :))

Can you share a few of your own favourite pictures with us


As I've mentioned, capturing the spirit of one of my dogs makes me pretty happy, so I would have to include Bennett of course!
And one of my favorite places on earth, Lake McDonald in Glacier National Park, Montana, USA (the place I grew up)
Of course, I couldn't get it done without the 365 community, so this one of jsorensenart is a favorite.
And this reminder to get out and see things; there are wonders just outside your door, you just have to get out and see them!

And, according to your followers what were your most popular shots?


One of the favorites I've posted was my "Free Your Mind" shot, kind of an inspirational piece for all of the new 365ers joining this year; intended to remind everyone to challenge themselves, as there is a world of possibilities out there!
My "North Star Campfire" shot certainly has the most "faves", and is one of my favorite shots as well.

With so many types of photos in your albums - is there any thing or any person you would still like to capture on camera?


The one thing I feel is lacking in my album is bonafide "street shots." Being uncomfortable with street photography that includes strangers is definitely a hurdle I would really like to overcome. My biggest wish at the moment though is to visit a real city for a while. I live in a very small town in the wilderness, so shooting a big city would be a dream! And if @michaelelliott could be convinced to give me a tour, a trip to NYC just might be in my future!

Any advice for budding 365ers?


Keep challenging yourself. And try to figure things out on your own first. If you see a great photo of a bubble, figure out how the person got that shot. Check out their exif. Search for more bubble photos (either in 365 or on the internet). And start experimenting with your own bubbles. You will find that sort of investigation is much more gratifying than starting a discussion about it. Ask yourselves the question before you ask someone else; that's the best way to learn! And if you're stuck, just start pointing your camera at things; you'll soon find you are getting more ideas just by simply clicking that shutter.

And finally... What next? What do you think you will be doing in 5 years time?


Traveling and getting outdoors more. Now that my first year is complete, landscapes are no longer "off of my list." The natural wonders of our planet are just begging to be captured in our cameras and shared, and I aim to do a LOT more of that; mixed in of course with all of my other quirky shots! And 365 will continue to play a big part of my adventures!



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Comments
March 21st, 2013
hah! i enjoyed reading this as much as i enjoyed reading the article about peter de graaf. you, peter and a few others around this site, are good role models for all budding photographers. it is always a good feeling knowing more about people i admire. kudos!
March 21st, 2013
Great interview Aaron @grizzlysghost - and wow you used 62 cameras! And you got an open invite for a red-carpet NYC no-holds-barred photo-tour anytime pal!
March 21st, 2013
@michaelelliott Haha, fantastic Michael; I will hold you to that! Same goes for you if you're ever interested in some fresh air! :)
March 21st, 2013
I am very grateful to have completed this interview, what a blast 365 is! One correction I would like to make; I mentioned Jake in the article, but when the interview took place he was using an old handle. You can find him at @soren and he is VERY worth the follow! Thanks again everyone, you guys ROCK! :)
March 21st, 2013
You ROCK,Aaron!!
March 21st, 2013
Great interview -- you do ROCK! I soooo much appreciate your inspiration, your information, your sense of humor, your passion and, last but not least, your doggie photos! :)
March 21st, 2013
@summerfield Thanks so much SummerField! :)
@jodimuli No, YOU rock! :)
@rockinrobyn Haha, I had you at doggie photos! :)
March 21st, 2013
Great interview, Aaron. I guess the secret's how about how many cameras you own! ;)
March 21st, 2013
@lisabell Haha, absolutely Lisabell! The more cameras you own, the better you must be! It's a mathematical truth! ;)
March 21st, 2013
@grizzlysghost Great interview Aaron, I guess I won't unfollow you:)
March 21st, 2013
@soren Haha, thanks Jake2 ! :)
March 21st, 2013
Nice one @grizzlysghost - an inspiring interview indeed.
March 21st, 2013
@bobfoto Thanks Jason!
March 21st, 2013
@grizzlysghost
Super, real diversity and experimentation and some super kit, results and advice.
March 21st, 2013
@chewyteeth Thanks Dave!
March 21st, 2013
Yay!!! Awesome interview! I've been a follower for a long time and I love your work - it inspires me to get out there and try to snap landscape shots that are a fraction as good as yours (and I'd be happy with that!) :) Some wonderful shots here! I totally agree with what you said about macro - lets you immerse yourself in another world :)
March 21st, 2013
great interview really! very inspiring words!
March 21st, 2013
Vee
Wonderful interview and great read, Aaron!
March 21st, 2013
Aaron your photo creations are amazing, imaginative and just so totallity wicked. Great Interview
March 21st, 2013
I think I've seen you once or twice on here. Great interview Aaron. Congrats. Kick ass.
March 21st, 2013
@pocketmouse Thanks so much Teresa, the feeling's mutual! :)
@wind_of_the_sothern_sea Thanks Arefin!
@vskolnik Thank you Vee!
@simster Thanks Simmy!
@losthorizon Haha, thanks so much Beau! My "project" folder is FULL of your work; your ideas are simply brilliant!
March 21st, 2013
Fab interview Aaron. I should read it again on a weekend morning and then get driving to find myself a hill (a mountain will take a little longer) - your photos make me crave fresh air!
March 21st, 2013
Great read :)
March 21st, 2013
@judithg Thanks Judith!
@abhijit Thank you Abhijit!
March 22nd, 2013
Sue
Great interview Aaron ... you inspire me every day, your wilderness is spectacular! And a wicked sense of humour!
March 22nd, 2013
@redpants Haha, thank you so much Sue! My "wicked sense of humour" has gotten me into more trouble than I care to admit! )
March 22nd, 2013
You're one of the gooders Aaron!!
March 22nd, 2013
Nice interview Aaron!
March 22nd, 2013
Loved reading the interview and your shots are amazing and inspiring, Aaron. I'm glad you are part of 365.
March 22nd, 2013
@shutterbugger Thanks Jenn, you too! :)
@btorrey Thank you Brenda!
@mittens Thanks so much Marilyn! :)
March 22nd, 2013
Lyn
Aaron, this is really just right. . .I can't think of anyone who deserves to be highlighted like this more than you, my friend. I've had a really tough week and have been sort of MIA, but this is the kind of inspiration I needed. Bravo!
March 22nd, 2013
@lyno Thank you so much Lyn! :)
March 22nd, 2013
Your images are amazing, Aaron! I really enjoyed your interview!!
March 22nd, 2013
@grizzlysghost Great article Aaron. You want street photography? Come to L.A. We can meet in downtown in one of the ethnic neighborhoods and have a blast.
March 22nd, 2013
Woo ho for you Aaron! Was so excited to see your interview on here! :) Congrats and I always look forward to your posts :) Keep em coming and High fives for you!! :)
March 22nd, 2013
@kwind Thank you KWind!
@webfoot I would love to hit LA, I can definitely see that happening! :)
@kbalychev Haha, thanks so much Kimberly!
March 22nd, 2013
@grizzlysghost a true inspiration for this site, your contributions are awesome.
March 22nd, 2013
Great interview, Aaron :) I knew you had a lot of cameras... but what the haha... and I suspect his will continue to grow ;) You have inspired me along the way too.
March 22nd, 2013
Great interview Aaron. I'm glad that you can go back to doing some landscapes. I really enjoy Jake's Glacier photos. We don't get up there to often and when we do it has to be a road trip...getting out hiking sure makes a difference.
March 22nd, 2013
@stuey Thanks Stuey!
@ozziehoffy Thanks so much Cassandra! :)
@debrac It sure does Debra! I plan to spend a lot more time in Glacier this summer!
March 22nd, 2013
Great interview, Aaron ~ In case I haven't mentioned it before, I love your work!
March 22nd, 2013
@grizzlysghost ever since I joined this site and seen your photos you have been one of my main inspirations and always look forward to seeing your shots. You have inspired we to improve and become a better photographer. Your like a celebrity on here. The one day that I got a comment and a fav off you I was over the moon. My aim is to get the likes of you and jake following me and get inspiration off me in return. I will keep working. Your a star and loved the interview.
March 22nd, 2013
Terrific @grizzlysghost
March 22nd, 2013
Awesome work and awesome interview.
March 22nd, 2013
@grizzlysghost Aaron, a most excellent interview! Thank you for sharing more of yourself and your passion for capturing images. Yes, you are an inspiration to me and I love seeing what you come up with next...all the way from the breathtaking to those that are filled with mirth n giggles!
March 22nd, 2013
I still can't get over the number of cameras you own. My husband would have divorced me long ago - he's already complaining about my current gear! Great interview Aaron! :)
March 22nd, 2013
Great interview. You are such an inspiration and it is always a pleasure to see your shots. 62 cameras, eh? And i feel like I'm splurging when I buy another lens ; ) Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Aaron.
March 22nd, 2013
@kph129 Thank you Kristin! :)
@brav Haha, now I'm blushing; thanks Richard! LOL
@peterdegraaff Thanks Peter!
March 22nd, 2013
@nadaa Thank you Nada!
@kazlamont Haha, thanks so much Kazzy! Some of my favorites are also the goofiest! :)
@russianblue Haha, thanks Kass! I'll be the first to admit my collection is a little bit excessive; but I've never been able to turn down shooting an old/new camera! :)
@yonnie Thanks so much Yvonne! :)
March 22nd, 2013
@grizzlysghost Great interview, Aaron. Where do you store all of those cameras? Sheesh. And with that many, how do you decide what to use when you go shooting? Do you spin a wheel or something? Your photos are amazing, but I love your humor best. Glad to know you on here!
March 22nd, 2013
@grizzlysghost This was great.. to be honest I knew very little about you other than you come up with some witty remarks on discussions..your photos are amazing and I feel a bit more motivated..good interview!
March 22nd, 2013
Great interview. Really inspiring. I guess I better crack that macro nut soon...immersed in another world sounds like a fun place to be. I always love your photos and commentary.
March 22nd, 2013
Fab interview....and interesting to find out how your artistic mind works :)
March 22nd, 2013
@amandal Thanks Amanda! They are mostly in an old oak display case, others are in drawers, etc. I usually pick the loneliest-looking one to shoot :)
@mizhayz Thanks!
@edie Thank you Edie!
@looseimages Thank you Lucy! :)
March 22nd, 2013
Great interview with a truly inspiring 365er. Thanks for all the fantastic photos Aaron: keep them coming. :)
March 22nd, 2013
Terrific interview,Aaron!! Amazing 62 cameras....if ever I want another camera,I'll quote your 62,when my husband complains!! Love all those stunning landscapes.Just wish there was scenery like that in my area.
March 22nd, 2013
@grizzlysghost Very inspiring and informative! Good to get to know a little about you!
March 22nd, 2013
This is awesome Aaron! Fantastic interview! I loved reading it!
March 22nd, 2013
Great interview Aaron. I think you should celebrate with some cake!!!!
March 22nd, 2013
Awesome interview Aaron! Really motivating! I learned a lot from your advice!
March 23rd, 2013
@missmercy Thanks Miss Mercy! :)
@carolmw Thank you so much Carol!
@grammyn Thank you Katy!
March 23rd, 2013
@orangecrush Thanks Jerry!
@onie Mmmm, cake! I think I will do just that! :)
@cjphoto Thanks Chris!
March 23rd, 2013
great interview Aaron ......
March 23rd, 2013
Was so happy to see your name being interviewed. You are an inspiration to me. Do your cameras have their own room?
March 23rd, 2013
@gavincci Thank you Jaydee! :)
@lesip Haha, they almost DO Leslie! Thanks! :)
March 23rd, 2013
@grizzlysghost So cool!!! Congratulation on the interview - you are a great example and mentor on this site!!
March 23rd, 2013
Great interview - your love of all things photographic (and your four-pawed friends) shines through - wouldn't want to be your 5D though! : )
March 23rd, 2013
Great interview. I know what you mean by taking shots and working it out for youself. One of my own challenges this year is the moon...i shall keep on clicking until i get it right :-)
March 23rd, 2013
Wonderful interview Aaron, you are inspiring.
March 23rd, 2013
@myhrhelper Thanks Kathy!
@rennes Haha, my poor 5D :)
@huvesaker That's the spirit Boo!
@masosy Thank you Kate!
March 23rd, 2013
Well I think your work speaks for itself. You put together a very nice variety of styles which I think demonstrates your overall love for the art, and you are always exploring ways to expand it further. Nice job!
March 23rd, 2013
@digitalrn Awesome, thanks Rick!
March 23rd, 2013
Wow, fantastic interview and amazing photos - a true inspiration :)
March 23rd, 2013
@grizzlysghost
Great interview Aaron, i love your "grisslyghost" name. Where did that come from?
Your shots rock.
March 24th, 2013
Hi Aaron, Your interview came to my mind today and I wondered where you store ALL those cameras???
March 24th, 2013
I enjoyed reading the interview. The section on the cameras you use was fascinating! And like Myna, I've wondered about where your nickname came from.
March 24th, 2013
Aaron! Fantastic interview! So glad to catch it. You really have been a source of inspiration and guidance from the 1st day I joined. thank you!
March 24th, 2013
@danitech Thanks Danielle!
@sailingmusic Thanks Myrna! I think it's something I made up years ago when deciding on a geocaching name, and it stuck!
@btorrey Hi Brenda! Most of my cameras are in a single display case in my living room. Many others are stored away on shelves in another room :)
@taffy Haha, thanks Taffy! :)
@sunshinephoto5 Thanks so much Dawn!
March 24th, 2013
You have been a Fav of mine for so long...i enjoyed every word of your interview! You inspire all of us Aaron and i am so thankful to have been able to follow your journey on 365!! I hope you know just how much we have learned from you! Thank you for sharing all of your knowledge and your Totally Awesome Art! I hope you do get to N.Y. with Michael, i could not think of any one eles eyes, i would like to see it with!!
March 24th, 2013
@ellimae Aww, you're awesome Ellen, thanks! :)
March 24th, 2013
man i will never be that good when i get older
March 24th, 2013
@keykeeper You already are, you just don't know it yet :)
March 24th, 2013
Aaron you are such an inspiration to all of us. Thank you for all you have done and your generosity to those of us that are always in need of a tutorial! You are the BEST!
March 24th, 2013
@grizzlysghost
Great interview, Aaron. I appreciate your photo awesome-ness ;-).
March 24th, 2013
thanks for saying that maybe your right
March 25th, 2013
@cdonohoue Thanks so much Cathy! :)
@roadshow Haha, thanks Gloria!
@keykeeper :)
March 25th, 2013
Great interview! I see you regularly on the PP and in the TT and in many discussions. Your photography is top notch and pleasure to view! :)
March 25th, 2013
@marilyn Thank you so much Marilyn! :)
March 25th, 2013
I was impressed with your photos before but knowing more will make the viewing even more special. Keep on.
March 25th, 2013
@fullcircle Thank you Cindy!
March 25th, 2013
Great interview Aaron - you're (apparently) so full of energy and enthusiasm you're an inspiration every day as are your wonderful shots. I'm hopping about reaching for the camera already..! :)
March 25th, 2013
Not only the interview but all of the above comments as well are proof positive that you are indeed a Project 365 Demigod. I've only been here 80 days and already I see you as a mentor and a motivating force.

I completely agree with you on the "figure things out on your own first" rule. I'm learning so much every day... the opportunities are endless. It's overwhelming, though: if *you* feel you've only scratched the surface on photography, and if it takes 62 cameras to be That Good, then I'm frankly daunted by the prospect of how far I must have to go. Yep—I think you're triggering my midlife crisis. :^)
March 25th, 2013
@filsie65 Haha, thanks Phil! I would have to agree; every time I feel uninspired now, I just read this interview LOL ;p
@squamloon Haha, thanks! Sometimes a midlife crisis is a good thing; I've had several! :)
March 25th, 2013
I enjoyed your interview. You are a great inspiration and your landscape shots are amazing. Thanks for sharing your time and talent with us on the 365!
March 26th, 2013
:) I am currently inspired by yourself and many others on here :)
March 26th, 2013
@tskipper Thanks so much Tami! :)
@tammeray Thanks Tammeray! And thanks for mentioning others; I am really right in the middle of the pack, there is just SO much talent on 365 it amazes me every day!
March 26th, 2013
@grizzlysghost Hahahaha! =)
March 26th, 2013
Awesome interview Aaron! I am always in awe and in-spired by your photography. I have many roads to travel before I reach your level of excellence but you have also helped to bring up my level of excellence with the camera that I do have. Thanks for being such a great part of this community!
March 26th, 2013
@olivetreeann Thank you Ann! :)
March 28th, 2013
Aaron when did you start this kind of art
March 29th, 2013
@keykeeper Many years ago, but it seems to evolve every day; there is just so much to experience and learn!
March 31st, 2013
Good to find out more about you, As I've posted before, I love your landscapes of beautiful Montana, and Bennett is my fave 365 dog- but it's because you are so clever at capturing him in action.
April 1st, 2013
@ccb Haha, Bennett is my favorite too! LOL Thanks CCB!
April 11th, 2013
Great interview...
Thanks for sharing..
I am very inspired of you...

April 14th, 2013
@johndevid Thank you John!
May 9th, 2013
Sue
Great interview ... you were one of the first I started to follow on my adventure with my camera Aaron ... you have inspired me often & when taking a shot I often wonder how yourself & few few others on this site might approach it. Thanks so much for sharing.
May 22nd, 2013
@redpants Thanks so much Sue! :)
July 22nd, 2013
I have certainly learned a lot from your work Aaron, and like you, I try and make every shot count. I cannot just slap a photo on 365 to cover the day, it has to be something that I feel good about. Your passion for photography comes out in your work as it does in this interview.
July 28th, 2013
Jo
Just read your interview, well said. You take absolutely wonderful images, full of passion and beauty and always a joy to see, and when on the rare occasion you throw a comment my way it always gives me a much needed little boost, so thanks for the inspiration.
October 22nd, 2013
Delightful interview, @grizzlysghost ! Your photos always inspire me. I especially like your suggestion to check out various photos' exif info to learn more. . .
November 21st, 2013
Missed this first time around... Good stuff and always love your pics mate... @grizzlysghost
December 4th, 2013
Great interview and background. Love the shots keep taking them.
December 13th, 2013
Great interview, you live in an exquisite place to photograph :)
January 8th, 2014
Great interview, have only started following you recently but your shots inspire me every day!
January 9th, 2014
@genesis_one @jo13 @jo13 @jyokota @andycoleborn @padlock @pixiemac @roseolivia
Thanks so much everyone! I don't get notified when someone responds to this blog, so it was very nice to revisit and see your wonderful comments! One of the best things about 365 is our ability to motivate each other :)
January 23rd, 2014
Wonderful interview! You are so inspirational and talented!!
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