Monday, August 23, 2010

I accept the challenge...

I recently celebrated a birthday.

Rhymes with schmirty-fix.

This time of the year always feels like the start of all things new, for obvious reasons. I'm a new age, it's a new school year, and we're going into a new season, fall. The kids have new clothes, new shoes, new school supplies, and they are each starting new grades at school.

Newness. Beginnings.

To commemorate this birthday of mine, I have decided to challenge myself, and it is not a challenge I take lightly, because as I'm sure you can relate, life is busy. Life is chaotic.

But in a good way.

First, some background for you.

I am a horrible photographer. If you want a picture with bad lighting, red eye, and the subject matter to be not at all candid and precious, then I am your gal. Of course, I can manage to eke out the posed pictures, but as I have discovered over the years, posed pictures are necessary, yes, but also quite boring.

Recently I was going through our collection of pictures on iPhoto on our Mac. I was shocked to discover that since we bought our first digital camera in 2000 when our first child was born, we have taken over 11,000 pictures.


I had no idea.

As I said, I'm no Ansel Adams. It's not like I walk around with the big Nikon around my neck, snapping away. Instead, I'm the gal who pulls out the camera for the holidays, important moments and milestones. Important, yes, but life is so much more than this.

I am always disappointed in myself when my kids are having one of those sweet moments, and I will think to myself, "The camera! Where's the camera? I need to capture this!" but by the time I find the stinkin' camera, the moment has passed.

The other day, as I waded through all eleven thousand pictures, I realized that I had a lot more candid shots than I thought.

Like this one.

This picture was taken in April 2004, and it was the first time we took our two oldest children on an airplane. The destination was Disney World. Yes, the posed pictures of the kids in front of Cinderella's castle and standing next to Mickey Mouse were equally as awesome, but this picture particularly touched my heart because of the long-forgotten memory it recalled. My boy had just turned two, and instead of wanting to sit on my lap, he bravely sat buckled in his own seat right next to me, by the window, and shouted, "Ayer-pwane" over and over in pure joy and excitement.

He was among the clouds for the first time, and thankfully, I captured it.

Yay for me.

Also, see that picture all the way at the top of the page? The one right by the title of my blog? The one of four kids putting their toes in the ocean for the very first time ever? I captured that moment. Me, myself and I. I am extremely proud of this picture and the memories that it evokes for Bill and I.

Maybe I'm better at this photography thing than I thought.

As I scrolled through iPhoto, I found more of these types of photographs, and the memories came flooding back. Baking cookies with the kids. A missing tooth. Running through the sprinkler. A smile. A frown. Playing catch with my Dad in the backyard. Hanging the first ornament on the Christmas tree. Two kids hugging.

The real moments that life is made of.

Immediately, an idea came to mind. I decided that I am going to take at least one picture, every day for a year.

I can do it.

Then, in typical Clare fashion, soon after telling myself I would do this, I shelved the idea, because, excuses excuses, life is busy.

However, a few days later, I was reading the latest entry in "Classy Chaos", the blog written by Pauline, a woman I met at the Erma Bombeck Conference I attended in April. She wrote about her latest ambitious challenge, which is to not shop for herself for an entire year. (Brave, brave lady!) As I continued to read, she referenced her previous challenge that she completed in January, which was to take one photo every day for a year. Read about it here.

Wow. I had no idea so many others were doing these kinds of challenges, and the more I dug, I discovered there are websites dedicated to "365 projects".

This is now my 365 Project.  Quite unoriginally, I have dubbed it "Project Picture".

Project Picture started on my 36th birthday and will end on my 37th birthday, unless I decide I want to do Year 2. Or, maybe I will be so sick of my little camera, I will throw it in the nearest river. But as of this moment, I am three days into my challenge, and so far, so good.

Since Bill and I are both amateur photographers, we rock a small, pocket-sized digital Canon camera. Someday, I would love to advance to a big camera with filters and lenses, but alas, I would have no idea how to work such a contraption at this point in my life. That would involve research and learning, and frankly, my brain is already overwhelmed with enough minutiae.

Also, I am too lazy for book learnin'.

Point and shoot is all I have time for these days.

Please join me in my challenge, even if you only have time for one picture a week! The more candid shots the better, and I promise you, you will not regret it. It takes moments a day.

Moments a day to capture the moments of a day.


  1. I think this is a great idea. Good for you!

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  3. I love how Jack's comment really captured the essence of your post, Clare. :) Love the idea and I've been trying so hard to snap more pics lately. I'm accepting your challenge!


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