Day 366 Project Complete

Day 366 Project Complete by pixygiggles
Day 366 Project Complete, a photo by pixygiggles on Flickr.

The final day of the year – Day 366…. I feel lost. What do I do now? I do plan to continue blogging after this. But where do I go from here? I have concentrated on this project every day, without fail, even when I didn’t want to. I put all of my energy, creativity, and research into it. I was determined to prove something to myself. And I did. I set a goal. I stuck with it. And I accomplished my goal.

My original intent was to learn everything there is to know about my new (then, 2011’s Christmas gift) digital point and shoot camera, a Canon PowerShot A2200. I love this little camera. It has been my constant companion all year long. I am very pleased with the quality of the photos it captured. Sure, some days the photos didn’t turn out all that great; but I blame that more on my mood and operator error than the camera itself.

I am now confident in my knowledge of what my camera is capable of and what it is not. When I looked at this camera for my son last Christmas, the salesperson advised me that this camera performed poorly in low light settings. It was my experience that with a little patience, my night photography turned out to be some of my favorite photos.

More so than just learning about my camera, though, this 366 day photography challenge taught me a great deal more!

  • First and foremost, I’ve learned that I can accomplish something that I set my mind to. I am a very determined person. Even when my frustration level was telling me to quit, I managed to make myself keep going to complete this project. I am very proud of myself for never giving up. As I stated before, I proved to myself that I can set a goal and follow through with it, accomplishing what I set out to do.
  • I learned much more about how to compose my photographs, work with lighting, and the best tweaks to enhance my photos in Corel Photo-Paint X4. I am satisfied with the knowledge I gained about photography and hope to make this a lifelong learning process.
  • This experience has taught me to pay attention to detail in so many ways, not only the details of composition and photography skill, but also the details of my life and the world around me. Never have I noticed such beauty on our planet as when I am at peace in the natural world.
  • Creativity cannot be forced. If I wasn’t feeling particularly creative one day, I decided it was okay to try something different or simply document something from my day. Capturing the little things, the every day simple pleasures and even the mundane, these are the snapshots of my life that will reinforce my memories of this past year for years to come.
  • This taught me a lot about myself. I didn’t realize just how much I obsess over certain things in my life until I watched the entire completed slideshow of my project. I realized that my creativity takes many forms throughout the year – photography, drawing, sketching, other forms of art, videos, music, playing the piano – so many outlets and so little time. I kept myself busier this past year as a result and was more content than I have been in years.

This was certainly a worthwhile adventure. I recommend this project to anyone who has a serious interest in photography, whether you are an amateur or professional. The benefits are well worth the time and effort. While a DSLR camera would have given me a lot more control over what I actually wanted to accomplish, a simple point and shoot camera does not mean that you cannot take great photos and learn a lot along the way!

With the new year comes a fresh start. Last year’s resolution was my first, and I’m happy to say I completed it. This year, I think I’ll skip the New Year’s resolution and concentrate on more short-term goals. Now, to figure out what those goals are….

Happy New Year, everyone! I hope it’s a great one for all of us!

Day 364 Falling Snow

Day 364 Falling Snow by pixygiggles
Day 364 Falling Snow, a photo by pixygiggles on Flickr.

I wasn’t particularly satisfied with any of the photos I took today, but this one was kind of interesting. I wish I had thought to try using the flash earlier in the day when it was snowing so much harder. I’m not horribly keen on using an on-camera flash, but a lot of what I was reading today about capturing photos of falling snow suggested using a flash in order to light up the snow. There are probably better ways to do this, using manual settings. However, as I’ve stated before, my point and shoot doesn’t have a lot of options as far as manually choosing a focal length.

One good reference article I ran across earlier is by Christopher O’Donnell: How to Photograph Snow. I’m sure there are plenty more out there. Feel free to make suggestions or offer any helpful advice you’ve come across in photographing snow.

And just because I felt a little cheated out of getting a decent snow photo today, I share with you a video from earlier in the day when one of our Downy Woodpeckers stopped by to feed at the suet feeder. She was making a fuss out there, probably because the snow was coming down so hard. Later, I ended up taking out orange slices, cranberries (curious to see if the birds will eat those), and corn.

366 Photo Catch-Up

I decided I would catch up on my 366 project in one post rather than several posts. It’s hard to believe that I only have 5 more days until my year-long project will be complete. I put a lot of time and effort into this, and I’m proud of my determination to see it through to the end. I’m afraid this post ended up a lot longer than normal, but it is in total 7 days worth of daily photos.

This holiday season has been much more of a challenge than earlier years. Prior to my trip back to East Tennessee to visit family for the holidays, I was experiencing a great deal of anxiety, more so than normal. I have no explanation for why the anxiety was so bad this year. It just felt like I was suffocating before I even left on my trip.

I barely did any Christmas shopping this year which is the reason I decided to stop at West Town Mall on my way through Knoxville. It was a stormy day on Thursday. I thought the drive would be much worse than it was. For the most part, the rain wasn’t too bad. Other than high winds pushing my car around a bit on the interstate, I had no problems at all, not even at the mall. The clouds were absolutely breathtaking! I drove in awe the entire way.

Day 355 High Winds & Stormy Skies (12.20.12) – Taken at West Town Mall, Knoxville, TN.

I arrived at Mom’s later that evening, and we stayed up past midnight catching up and talking. Early the next morning, I awoke to strange sounds coming from my mom’s room. I ran into her bedroom and found her in the floor next to the bed. She appeared unhurt and at times, giggled as if she was caught in some waking dream. After about 45 minutes to an hour, I managed to get her back into bed.

My mother is in her mid-70’s and has numerous health problems, including Type-2 Diabetes. Over the past few months, there have apparently been several instances of her falling out of bed. Needless to say, this particular instance gave me quite a scare; but I had no idea what I was supposed to do. I kept checking on her until she finally woke up for the day. She said she felt fine other than a slight headache. Later that evening, we attended the family dinner with all the extended family.

Day 356 Peaceful Sanctuary (12.21.12) – The view from my mom’s front porch. Isn’t it beautiful?

On Saturday, I took Mom to do a little Christmas shopping in Morristown. Governor’s Square Mall was crowded and noisy; so we didn’t stay very long. After I dropped Mom off at home, I took a drive out to Douglas Dam in order to “recharge my batteries.” I had hoped to visit the Great Smoky Mountains while I was home this time, but there wasn’t an opportunity. At least, I got to see them from a distance at Douglas Dam. The view from the overlook there is quite beautiful.

Day 357 Douglas Dam at Sunset (12.22.12) – View from the lower overlook.

The video is from the upper overlook. I’m sorry this video is a little shaky. It was really cold out there! “Douglas Dam is a hydroelectric dam on the French Broad River in Sevier County, Tennessee, in the southeastern United States.” [Via – Wikipedia]

Again on Sunday morning around the same time as Friday morning, I awoke to the sounds of moaning coming from Mom’s room. I rushed into her room; and this time, I found her pinned between the wall and the bed. I quickly phoned my sister after I managed to get the bed moved over enough to give her a little more space. She told me to call 911 so we could get some answers as to what was going on. Two ER’s later, she was finally admitted to the hospital for observation and medication adjustments.

Day 358 Prayers for Mom (12.23.12)

I don’t have the words to express the emotional turmoil that I’m sure my mother is feeling at this time. No one wants to spend Christmas in the hospital. The added expense of more hospital bills certainly adds more stress than she needs. I was surprised to learn that hospital staff were already harassing her for money before she even left the ER. That was so wrong!

I worry a lot about her living alone, but she is determined to remain independent and stay in her own home. And why shouldn’t she? It’s where she is most comfortable. The house is paid for. Selling it now would only cause her more emotional and financial stress in the long run.

Day 359 Hospital Christmas Tree (12.24.12)

There are no easy answers when it comes to caring for aging parents. It’s a difficult situation to be in. I feel my mother deserves the respect and freedom to make her own choices, but I’m also feeling pressured to abandon my own life to go care for her. A conversation was relayed to me by my sister between her and Mom’s doctor that led me to believe that this is expected of me since I’m not working and “otherwise unattached.”

I understand how hard it is to be dependent on others for personal care because I’ve been in that situation for many years, now, due to my own mental illness. I rely on David for many things like reminding me to eat and to tell me if my thinking is irrational. He’s the one person who was consistently there for me over the last 12 years when others were not, even when we were not dating.

Since my family has never acknowledged my personal issues or witnessed first-hand any of the struggles in my own life over the last 16 years, I can’t expect them to understand why asking me to do this could be dangerous for the both of us. I don’t exactly have the best judgment. I never have. Believe me when I say, I’m not trying to make excuses here. I’m simply stating my experience.

Day 360 Merry Christmas (12.25.12)

Well, it wasn’t my intent to turn this blog entry into a rant; but it is what it is. I needed to get a few things off my chest. I’m convinced that no one in my family reads my blog, so I feel that my openness won’t be judged harshly by my faithful readers. I do hope each and every one of you had a very Merry Christmas! I hope the New Year brings each of us closer and blesses us with peace and prosperity.

Day 361 Red-bellied Woodpecker (12.26.12)

This last photo brings me up-to-date with my 366 project. We got a light dusting of snow today and a flurry of activity at the bird feeder. I saw Blue Jays, Downy Woodpeckers, lots of Cardinals (as always), Tufted Titmouse (Titmice?), Eastern Bluebirds, and of course, this Red-bellied Woodpecker. I’ve tried to get a good photo of him for ages! This one is better than nothing.

As always, thanks for stopping by! And feel free to leave comments or suggestions.

Day 354 Origami Christmas Bows

I’m in need of another technology hiatus. Holiday plans are underway; and things around here are going to be extremely busy for the next few days, probably until after Christmas. Of course, in my determination to finish my 366 project on schedule I intend to continue shooting photos of daily activities. I will catch up on my posts next week when I have less demands on my time and the fortitude to concentrate better. On the plus side, more opportunities will be available to me for a wider variety of shots in the coming days.

Until next week, I wish each and every one of you a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday season! And safe travels to those taking trips on the roads and airways!