I love photography. I always have. I’ve always been the person who’s rarely in any photos because I’m the one taking them. Teaching photography is an absolute pleasure and I enjoy sharing my passion for the subject with my students.
Last New Year’s Eve, I decided to take on the challenge of taking a photo a day for the duration of 2010. Not surpisingly, I learned about the photo a day challenge through Twitter. My first photo, at the right, is one of my favourites so far. I started because I love taking photographs, but I also though that it might be an interesting assignment for my photography students and I like to try things out before I bring them into the classroom.
I decided to follow @dailyshoot on Twitter because they tweet simple, good photo assignments each day. It helps to keep motivated and inspired. You can even tweet your photo with a link and they’ll add it to their Daily Shoot site. I usually try the daily shoot assignment, but, if the opportunity presents itself, I veer off and capture images of my choice.
I use my Flickr account to archive my daily photos. I also joined two groups on Flickr: the 2010/365photos group (a group largely made up of edubloggers which started in 2008) and the Art Ed 365/2010 (another group similiar to the first, but specifically for art teachers). I already had a Flickr account, so it was just a matter of finding the groups (which I learned about from my PLN on Twitter) and joining. Both groups contain members that I either follow on Twitter or that have a blog I subscribe to. I purposefully joined groups that would extend my existing PLN experience and I’ve found that being a part of the group has made my commitment more real.
The benefits I’ve experienced so far are:
- a greater awareness, a constant searching, for that awesome photo
- some great photos that I’m really proud of
- a neat visual record of my year so far
- an understanding of what it feels like to have to take photos in the same place every day. I get it now when my photo students come in and say ‘there’s nothing to take photos of in this school’, whereas before I’d privately think, ‘how could there be nothing to take photos of in the whole school?’
The struggles I’ve had so far:
- finding inspiration in the same spaces day after day. I think it’s time to go on some long drives to take advantage of the beautiful natural setting surrounding me. Looking at my photos so far, very few are outside of my house or my classroom, even though I take my camera with me everywhere I go. I want to change that.
- remembering to take the photos. I haven’t missed a day yet although I haven’t posted all the photos online, but I have forgotten until late at night and then I was stuck taking a photo just because I had to. Not surprisingly, those don’t turn out very well.
- technical difficulties. I’m getting a dark spot in the lower right corner of my recent photos. It only shows up in certain close up situations with the flash and it’s ruined a few good photos already.
- uploading the photos to Flickr, then naming them, tagging them, adding them to the group pool, etc. Is there an easier way to archive the daily photo? There probably is, but I haven’t found it yet, so I usually only upload every couple of weeks or so.
In this time of limitless online professional development, the daily photo is a valuable and worthwhile learning experience. I’ve really enjoyed it so far and I think it will make for a valuable photography assignment for my students. I wonder about others’ experience so far and I think in a classroom setting, where the students can sit and talk about their successes, struggles, etc. face to face, it will be even better.
Very nicely written article about the photo a day project and its relationship to a a PLN, what Twitter can lead to, and sharing with an electronic community of contacts. It’s been a bit since I’ve seen one of your photos up there on Flickr and look forward to seeing more as the year goes on.
Thanks for the kind words Bob! Uploading to Flickr regularly is a tough one for me. I’d love to have either a mobile device with a camera and the applications to shoot a photo and easily upload it to Flickr, or more time to spend taking and organizing photos, but I’m fairly certain that neither of those are going to happen anytime soon!
Errin, it was interesting reading your reflections on the photo a day project. I’ve been thinking about writing about my experience to date too.
When I started this year I wanted to streamline things so that I would actually keep it up. One thing that I’ve found helpful in posting to Flickr is that you can e-mail your photos directly to Flickr. I use Picasa 3 on my computer to manage my photos and it has an ‘e-mail photo’ button. On flickr you are assigned a specific e-mail address that you can e-mail photos to. The subject of the e-mail becomes the title of your photo, the body of the e-mail becomes your comments. In the subject line you can also put tags. For example:
Subject: Rain tags: rain, wet, Vancouver
This would title your photo ‘Rain’ and give it the tags rain, wet, and Vancouver. Once the photo is sent, all I do is go into Flickr and put the photo in the 2010/365photos group.
That, and a larger purse in which I always carry my camera, have helped me to be successful, though I have missed one day so far, doh!
Hi Claire! Thanks for that tip about emailing photos! I was sure that there was an easier process for organizing my photos but I had no clue as to what it was! I’m definitely going to try that out and with this week off, I actually have some time to do so!
Here’s a link to the post that got me e-mailing directly to Flickr. The post is a little old now. It mentions that you can not tag photos via e-mail, but as I’ve explained above, it is now possible. Hope this is helpful!