This week we have another installment of our 365ers series, featuring some of the well known names from 365 Project, Phil has just completed her first year and we thought it would be great to hear about her experience.
What made you decide to take on the 365 Project?My teenage son, George had started it and goaded me to join in! At that time I had revisited the habit of taking photos on holiday in Scotland, I loved looking back at them and saw it as a sort of online photo-album. I thought ‘why not’ with no idea at all what I was starting!
Did you have much photography experience before you started?Little or nothing – I was very good at pushing the shutter button and could work out how to zoom in and out. Didn’t even need to know how to use the flash as it was set to auto and did it for me. Golden rule I knew for sure was to take a photo with the light on the subject’s face so that you could see them (!!)
How did the project expand your knowledge, and teach you new things?Well it certainly taught me how to use my own camera! It hasn’t been back on auto since – I had no idea it could do so much and I could use it to take a view in so many different ways. I just got so many ideas - different angles, different subjects, the way a light fell on something could make such a difference, it didn’t have to shine in eyes! Terms and concepts like low key, exposure and different focus suddenly meant something. Another thing I learnt of course is processing – from being terrified to even dare crop a photo I realised it was ok to tweak it slightly or drastically to make an improvement or a completely different picture, and the term sooc became a novelty rather than the norm.
What kind of camera did you use, and would you recommend it?I’ve been using an old Canon Ixus 75... a digital P&S camera that was bought for me. It’s fading away now but I have to say it’s been a super little camera. I’ve been amazed at what it can do and would certainly recommend Canon. I’ve just bought a Canon Powershot SX230 HS and am really pleased with what it can do – now I just have to see what I can do with it!
Is there a particular style of photography you enjoy the most?Not really but with my eyesight fading (it’s a maturity issue) it’s a revelation to see macro shots and detail I never knew existed before. I guess I love fantastic skies, my fav folder is full of them. Love the capture of wonderful moments and the beautiful unexpected. I love shots that get you to notice something lovely which you might otherwise have missed.
You mention that you are inspired by the world around you, and feel a need to capture it - was this what kept you going throughout the project?Yes and more so. Seeing our incredible world through other 365ers’ shots has made me want to see more of it and go out looking for it, so I suppose the project has made me even more inspired about the world around me! I’m still amazed by it. I don’t walk down the road now or look out of the window without noticing something lovely that I might not have noticed a year ago. Last year when it rained I saw miserable grey wet, now I see moody clouds, water crowns and reflections!
So your fellow 365ers were an important part of your 365 experience?Simply couldn’t have done it without them. The inspiration I got from their shots, the encouragement from simple comments and enthusiasm about my little offerings were incredible – so refreshing and sometimes a real pick-me-up that kept me on track. It’s been said before that it’s a great community, and it’s true – by and large we help, support and encourage each other and I feel I have made some great friendships here.
This is my chance to say a huge thank you to all my fellow 365ers - not forgetting Ross! I think he had a real brainwave setting this up, and he runs it so well, it’s a great site. That’s amazing! Aside from support and inspiration – was there anything else that feel you got out of the project?All of the above and more! I can certainly do more, am not afraid to try and am never without my camera! As someone who can’t draw for toffee it’s wonderful to be able to create a picture of something lovely.Also, as a single working mum in a busy little village I have so little time for myself - this has been a wonderful interest and challenge which I could fit in around the rest of my life, work, children, involving little expenditure or equipment, and energising me when life was tough. Every day I found something to smile about and something beautiful – how much offers that?
I see you have Ace Membership - who was the lovely person who bought you that?George thought of it, he and Cathy set it up for me - I was well chuffed! They went away with their Dad for Boxing Day and I had a new toy to play with!! How often does that happen when you’re in your mid-forties?! (You probably don’t know..the answer is not often!)
Can you share a few of your own favourite pictures with us.Top of the list, Frogmorange - so ridiculous and it still makes me smile! Still can’t believe I picked up a frog and put it on an orange!!Party’s Over – this was the first time I noticed light and focus and sat up, surprised, thinking ‘that’s a good shot’ and realised what fun I could have here. He quite likes his view of Paris – quite a dull view after thousands of steps, I was delighted with how it came alive with cross-processing
And, according to your followers what were your most popular shots?I think my shots through the telescope caught interest – Blue Moon was aptly named, not least because it was the only shot I ever did to make the top 20. I was just stunned to be up there.My flukey shot of a droplet in the garden got a lot of interest.So many 365ers joined in with alliteration during March when I did the alphabet, it was great fun – I think the wonky keyboard summed it up Now you have completed your first project, (and on to your second!) is there any thing or any person you would like to capture on camera?Ooh Yes! For starters there’s a red kite flying around – I’d love to get a shot of it that looks like a bird rather than a blob! I want to capture waves and long-exposure shots and droplets of water in focus as well as trying some of the ‘trick shots’ that look so amazing. My new camera apparently has lots of megapixels and a lovely zoomy lens with all sorts of clever settings to try - I can’t wait to get started. (You can see the enthusiasm hasn’t waned in year 2!)
Any advice for budding 365ers?Go for it and keep going! Enjoy it! Get involved, join in with discussions and challenges, follow folk whose stuff captures your imagination and don’t be afraid to try new or different things. Take photos that You like! Don’t get hung up about the Popular Page or folk with amazing cameras, be inspired not daunted by them. I follow wonderful folk around the globe and have at times purposely followed someone from a different area just to taste what their life is like, it’s interesting and wonderful!
And finally... What next? What do you think you will be doing in 5 years time?Well I’m just on to year 2, I have a new camera and hope I can get through the long dark winter months finding a bit more beauty to keep me going! I hope in 5 years time I will still be carrying a camera around with me and travelling further around our wonderful world to see some of those glorious sights my fellow 365ers have shown us! Thank you, Kerry, thank you Ross for thinking of me and even noticing my little project - I’m honoured!