Reflections on a Year Long Project and Thoughts for the Future

One year ago today, I embarked on a journey of discovery and self-improvement through photography. The idea first hit me when I came upon a few similar projects found elsewhere on the web. I thought it would be a fun way to improve my skills as a photographer both behind the camera and during post processing. I can say that after 365 days and 365 photos, I am definitely a better photographer than I was before.

I am rather proud of most of my work, even if some days the project became banal and uninteresting or I couldn’t find inspiration or a subject that I thought fitting for a photo. Sometimes I was lazy, taking things close at hand and trying to make them slightly more visually interesting. Sometimes it worked, and sometimes it didn’t, but I was not disheartened by the attractiveness, or rather lack thereof, that a few of my photos had. Below I will describe some of my prouder achievements, accompanied by the photos themselves.

Besides being a tool towards self-improvement, I looked at “Project 365″ through the lens of Freelance as a journal, recording my day-to-day life one picture at a time. Years down the road, I will still be able to look at many of these photos and pull up a memory of what happened and why it was significant for that day. On top of that, I took a self-portrait every 50 days. I saw these self portraits as a record of my growth and as an opportunity to push my post processing abilities to the next level. So I experimented. The results always surprised me and I definitely want to play around with these techniques again. Below are all the self-portraits, in order.

For my 50th picture, I wanted to try something special: Merging two photos so that it seems that I am floating in the air, supported by a picture frame. I think I could have chosen a better background though.

For my 50th picture, I wanted to try something special: Merging two photos so that it seems that I am floating in the air, supported by a picture frame. I think I could have chosen a better background though.

An experiment in double exposure editing.

An experiment in double exposure editing.

What an interesting day.

What an interesting day.

Day 200 Day 250

The end is in sight.

The end is in sight.

I guess I've grown a lot since my first self portrait.

I guess I’ve grown a lot since my first self portrait.

 

Big events were also part of my project, sometimes resulting in late posts due to lack of internet or computer. Below are examples of music festivals, theatrical events, etc. that all have given me great memories.

Day 4 Day 8 Day 26

Reggae Day at the JazzReggae Festival - 2013

Reggae Day at the JazzReggae Festival – 2013

The artwork for this year.

The artwork for this year.

 

Lastly, readers of this blog may have noticed that I take a lot of leaf photos. It’s a play on the pronunciation of my name. Here are what I consider to be my best shots.

Another photo of leaves with magnificent bokeh.

Another photo of leaves with magnificent bokeh.

Day 77

Taken where it lay.

Taken where it lay.

More like 365 days of fancy leaf photos.

More like 365 days of fancy leaf photos.

Day 91 Day 96

Haze

Haze

Day 171

Taken at Topanga State Park while working on a short student film.

Taken at Topanga State Park while working on a short student film.

 

Now, I bet you are wondering what I plan on doing now that I am done with this project. I have thought pretty long about whether I should continue. I plan on shifting my focus to big life events. Lugging a camera around every single day is difficult, and sometimes, I feel like I can’t do a photo justice. Instead of everyday, I plan on only posting a few photos during important moments, of the things I want to remember for as long as I can. Limiting my posting to only these larger events will give more weight and importance to the pictures I do end up taking and posting. I also plan on converting this website into a portfolio, and possible even a tech hardware review site, but that takes time and I am still unsure whether I should create a new site specifically for that.

Here’s to the future. I would like to thank each and every one of my readers for traveling with me during this year, whether you followed me since the beginning or whether you only found this site today.

It’s been quite a ride.

-Alif

 

Image

Day 364

I wasn’t able to edit this photo last night since I got home late and my roommate was asleep. I was helping a friend with a last minute theatrical lighting focus for a small show happening at UCLA. Here is a quick shot of my reflection with rim lighting.

I wasn't able to edit this photo last night since I got home late and my roommate was asleep. I was helping a friend with a last minute theatrical lighting focus for a small show happening at UCLA. Here is a quick shot of my reflection with rim lighting.

Day 361

I had the most amazing time participating in a Google Glass project at the Youtube Space LA. Long story short, it involves a live event experience mixed with roleplay motivated by Glass. Look up “Grace Plains” on Youtube.Day 361

Day 360

Celebrating Shabbat with many different Jewish student groups. I am glad that my job gives me the opportunity to work events like this. Also, 5 more days left. Wow.

Table decor is almost ready.

Table decor is almost ready.

Day 350

Today marks my final self portrait. I chose to revisit something I attempted before, but this time I decided to stay truer to form as far as this style of post processing goes. I did not try to rush the editing. I am proud and content with what came out of my triple exposure mix. This picture is a composite of three separate photos that I took all today, at various times. I hope you like it.

I guess I've grown a lot since my first self portrait.

I guess I’ve grown a lot since my first self portrait.

Day 349

I witnessed the blood moon tonight. Sadly it wasn’t fully eclipsed by my midnight deadline for this photo. I do have some decent captures of it, but since it was so dark and the ambient light from the city of Los Angeles played a major factor in visibility, my current setup wouldn’t be able to do the image justice. Shot on an old Vivitar 500mm lens with a T mount to EF adaptor. f/32, ISO 200, 1/45 sec.

It was still too bright to be able to perceive the red light the Earth was casting on the Moon.

It was still too bright to be able to perceive the red light the Earth was casting on the Moon.