As I perused different photography forums and different photographer’s facebook pages the past couple months I have been noticing the popularity of starting a 52-week photography challenge. For example, on Canadian-digital.com forum member Sambr posted “Okay folks we are starting a new challenge on this forum, it will be a daily or weekly event to suite your schedule. I really hope we get lots of participation from the membership at large. This will be solely for personal development and growth of your photographic skills and technique. All submissions must be shot on the day or week and can be of anything you want animals, people, and landscape, whatever you decide. Members can comment on your photos – it will be up to you if you want to take their comments or advice.” That’s a great idea. Anything to get us out there making photographs is good. Some have even suggested a 365-day challenge. I suppose that’s good also, only I expect many will just revert to a point and shoot at anything just to fulfil the obligation to post a picture. I would prefer that those taking up the challenge do so to help their photography grow in some way and select a subject with some thought as to creating an interesting image.
One photograph a day or one photograph a week might not always fit one’s personal style either. Especially if the photographer’s intention is to show something he or she thinks might be interesting.
Anything that gets us out with a camera in our hand is good. If anyone agrees with that then the challenge could instead be a 12-month challenge. I have written before that my wife and I (for years now) each have to produce a picture for our monthly calendar. I suppose that would be more like a six month challenge since we alternate months; January was my month then February my wife’s and March mine and so on. I must admit that I am really late this month. I have been trying to get together with two other photographers to photograph some large river otters that seem to be hanging out in the Thompson River east of Kamloops Lake. We tried this week with out success, but got some pretty good images of the Bighorn sheep along the foothills instead. And I will have to be satisfied with sheep picture for this month to fill the empty space in our home that should at this moment have a calendar hanging in it.
I know I personally could fill the weekly challenge with miscellaneous images, but I like those that have challenged themselves with a theme. I read one that will be choosing “shadows”. I like that because I think it will force that photographer to be creative in his approach, selection and final production.
My personal goal for this year is to photograph a different bridge every month. Those that read my last article know that I began (late I now) with the Pritchard Bridge that crosses the Thompson River not far from my home. The project shouldn’t be hard for me to get going because there are lots of bridges only short drives away and at first seems too easy.
My wife doesn’t think too much of my project. She thinks it pretty boring. Ok, I must aspire to produce photographs of the bridges that go beyond just documenting some structure crossing water and I will be forced like the “shadow” photographer, to be creative in my approach, selection and final production.
My first photograph was the Pritchard Bridge and I made the picture with a wide-angle lens from one end while standing in the sand just left of where the pillars came out of the sand. I like the shot, but if I am to make this real challenge my next bridge needs to be photographed from a different angle and I need a less leisurely execution.
Those taking up the daily, weekly or monthly photography challenge should as Sambr says “… for personal development and growth of your photographic skills and technique.” Choose a theme or subject. Or just photograph any subject because you really like to use your camera. I know we are already into March, but who cares, there aren’t any rules.