why not click along

As a new year was about to begin, a photo challenge called Capture your 365 crossed my Instagram newsfeed. I have attempted it previous years. On a whim, I thought why not try again? 


In an effort to figure out my photography style, I took on the challenge for the first time in 2017. I lasted 100-ish mostly consecutive days, before getting frustrated and giving up. 

There are tons of free photography challenges on the internet, and supportive groups. I don't (and won't) pay for a membership. For playing but not paying you have access to a monthly calendar of daily prompts, but not the accompanying information. Took me the longest time to figure out why multiple people would post photos that resembled each other in a way, but not necessarily the prompt.

My challenge efforts did not help me figure out "my style" or the never ending related question "what do you shoot". Questions I still struggle to answer to this day. Words mean different things to different people, and I end up explaining myself. 

I had imposed a restriction on myself that all my photos had to be taken with my DSLR camera, and my new pricey 50mm f/1.2 prime lens. I wanted to learn to use it with confidence. People were paying me for portraits. I felt obligated to provide better quality, and figure out my photography style. Not just take a lot of photos and hope a few turn out. A philosophy I disagree with. Does it work? Yes, odds will provide. Is there a better way? Yes, you'll know when you are at that stage.

The challenge did teach me that I prefer zoom lenses.

The extra sharpness a prime lens (a fixed focal length) gives you, the average person can't even see. It took me years to be able to see the difference. It is not worth it to me, nor do I have the money or desire to own a collection of pricey glass. I opt for flexibility.

The challenge also reinforced how I already felt. The most important thing (to me) about photography is capturing the feeling of a fleeting moment, not a technically perfect photo. 


Last year I announced to my photography Facebook world that I was taking the challenge on again, but this year I would set myself up for success by only doing select prompts. I think I did two prompts early on. They say you will feel encouraged by saying it out loud, and telling others. I know we had an extra busy year moving, but clearly this was not a good approach for me. It was a total bust, and I am pretty sure no one remembers me saying I was going to participate.


So, here we are. My third attempt. As of this post I am still clicking daily per prompt this year, with my camera or phone. I am no longer tracking the number of days, and don't care if my photos resemble whatever the additional information is. You can figure it out from other peoples posts, but it honestly doesn't matter to me anymore. 
I need practice and my biggest struggle is finding subject matter, and therefore inspiration. I would love to get my creativity on, but in a unique way. I am still trying to find *my* way.


Living and loving our land and all that thrives on it, has given me a refreshing outlook on photography. I don't share my pics on common places where one goes to "keep up with the joneses" and I no longer have to find the courage to travel alone to seek photo opportunities. Not that I won't, it's just taking photos isn't contingent on it. There is beauty right outside my back door, and the only person I am photographing for is me. Unless it is commissioned, but that's an entirely different post.

There is something extraordinary about that which is familiar.

The challenge prompts help me to document the wonder I experience around me in ways I wouldn't otherwise. It gets me out of my comfort zone. I am proud of some photo results, many others not so much. Some photos are taken just to get 'er done, but the value is it causes me to think visually. I know I won't make it an entire year. I honestly don't care if I do. I'll stop the prompted daily snap when it starts to feel like a burden.

I have begun the arduous process of updating my blog behind the scenes. Don't hold your breath, it will take me forever! Nothing major, it just needs updating. I'll post about it when I get closer to being done. I've decided to share all my photo challenge results, not just the horses related pics. They will fit in nicely with my eventual blog revise.

I plan to catch up, but then post results weekly here on my blog for as long as I participate in the challenge. I will include the hashtags I used on Instagram. If you are not familiar with hashtags, here is the definition "a word or phrase preceded by a hash sign (#), used on social media websites and applications, especially Twitter, to identify messages on a specific topic". All challenge photos are tagged with #cy365, but the rest are descriptors.

Week One

Welcome to 2019

#welcome2019 #january #winter #wisconsin


#january #fresh #freshsnow #horse #lips
#kissme #nemo #appaloosa #horsesofinstragram

One Word

#cold #january #winter #wisconsin


Even the tiniest of #budding #branches hangs on for Spring.
#january #winter #nofilter

Space to Grow

#january #fieldofdreams #winterdream #horsesofinstagram
#horses #homestead #ranch #livingthedream #lovewhereyoulive


Grey Horse Matters said...

I don’t do any social media stuff so I wouldn’t be able to follow or look up stuff. Anyway I love your pictures and think you should do whatever catches your interest and makes you feel good. I’m not much of a joiner because if I joined something and then didn’t finish it you feel like a failure. I try to take each day as it comes and make the best of it. I don’t always get to do what I planned but I live with it. As long as you’re happy with your photography that all that matters. Others opinions don’t amount to much in my book.

aurora said...

Now that I am going to post all my prompted photos, you can follow along on here :) These hashtags aren't linked, but they support the photos so I am including them. I personally like hashtags, those that don't can just scroll on past. I am not much of a joiner either, but I am a life long learner. I've already learned some things from doing the challenge in just a few weeks.

Val Ewing said...

I had to find your work! I owned a nifty 50mm and those are sweet lenses and I agree that a good zoom works for so many situations.
I ended up with a 12-200mm zoom. It is a workhorse.

Do what pleases yourself first. I used to do portraits and weddings but only as favors. One Bridezilla and Bridezilla Mom were plenty for me.
I'm looking forward to some of your photography!

aurora said...

Thank you Val, for taking the time to look up my photography. I break "the rules" intentionally and don't have all my social media outlets connected. It is counter productive, I know. But I use them for different reasons, and don't care for seeing the same darn thing posted 10 times. Just not in for the "likes/hearts" etc. My social links are on the side bar, and I do have a photography website but content is dated. I had totally forgotten about this tab, and my attempt at another 365 challenge (no longer exists) and expanding my blog. Hangs head in shame!! I did however just complete my first personal year long photography project (2020). The presentation part isn't done yet, it lives on my computer/backups and in my head. I've been trying to figure out what to focus on next. I want to continue to hone my skills. Nothing wrong with Pointing & Shooting (I use my phone all the time!) just isn't the same. I considered hosting a photo challenge that others could participate in, or just doing something on my own. Leaning towards the latter. Will see what shakes out after I am done procrastinating :)

Val Ewing said...

Creativity cannot be pushed, so just let it flow. I did visit your FB page too. You are quite talented. I never could do the 365 thing either. I'm too distracted. I am like scattered when it comes to photography. I like to try all sorts of things and many times it doesn't work out well.
I too have a 2020 project but that is just a series of photos I'm putting together for that year. Nothing special.

aurora said...

You are so right Val! Getting my creativity to flow has been a struggle. I remember putting together my graduation portfolio (long before digital) and asking my instructors "what's my thing"...I tend to be a "jack of all trades and master of none". It has served me well in the Commercial world, but not as self fulfilling otherwise. My 2020 project is very common, and it's purpose was to get me to shoot on a regular basis and hopefully learn something along the way. I look forward to seeing more of your photography!

Thank you for the kind compliment, they mean the most coming from other artists.