Boy oh boy, does a year go by fast. Twelve months ago, I started this little personal project that didn't know would take over so much of my free time like it did. I started it out of sheer frustration with many less-than-stellar things happening in my life at the moment, and a need to put some of that energy into a personal project, with no expectations whatsoever, but I'm glad to be able to say I actually did learn a lot by doing something like this for an entire year.
The obvious thing would be to say I am now a better photographer, having shot with one camera and one fixed focal length lens for 52 weeks (although not exclusively with this camera), and very cheap ones at that. With all the limitations that came with this cheap camera setup, also came problems that needed to be solved and that is what I enjoy doing the most in life. So here goes, some of the things I've learned, in no particular order:
- It really isn't about the camera, it's whomever is behind it.
- But a good camera really, really makes it so much easier...
- It's all about practice. The more you do it, the better you get at it. Nobody is born with a photography eye—you train it.
- On that note, not matter how frustrating and counter-intuitive is to operate a particular camera, you get used to it and it becomes second nature. Habit is a tremendous thing.
- A tripod and a little patience at night is better than all the image stabilization technology in the world
- Most times, you don't need 5 lenses and 3 bodys. You only need one camera and one lens—the one you have it you (and this includes iPhones). And the smaller the better.
As much as I've enjoyed doing this project, and the tremendous things I've learned this past year, I wouldn't do it again any time soon. It has taken too much of my time, and in the end, I'm not sure if intentionally crippling my photography workflow is really a good thing. I have been more frustrated than not. This old hunk of metal had the worst menu system I ever experienced, the loudest and clunkiest shutter ever (DSLR or mirrorless), and its rather less than acceptable low-iso performance.
For my last week, and in the vains of shooting things I never shoot, I decided to do a self-portrait. Well, of sorts: My ever-present wife was the one who pressed the shutter. As with most photographers, I rarely am in front of the lens, so it seemed a fitting ending for this project for me to be on the other side for once. It only made sense that I included City Hall as the background, a regular subject of my street shots, and the real highlight of 2015 in this city—the Toronto sign, left over from the Panam games.