365 days of sky
What is/was your personal project and what inspired you to start it?
I call my project #365daysofsky and it’s really a simple idea. I am posting one photo of the sky on instagram every single day for an entire year. Each day’s photo is hashtagged with the name of the project so that they’re easy to view as a group and each day’s photo is also marked with the date in white text somewhere on the image. I decided to start the project when I realized that I was feeling guilty for instagramming so many pictures of the sky – I was worried that I was becoming a sky insta-spammer. I thought a daily sky project would give me a good excuse to post one sky photo every day.
Are there any challenges or ruts you faced during your project and how did you overcome them and keep a creative eye?
I am still in the middle of my project so there is no telling what bumps in the road I might encounter – but I would say my biggest challenge thus far has been figuring out what to do with the cloudy days. My moods tend to be very sensitive to the weather (one of the reasons I love living in the California sunshine!) and I never feel quite as inspired on overcast days. Put my lack of inspiration together with the drab greyness of the sky on cloudy days and I tend to feel a bit lost and stumped. It’s been important for me to push through and make sure I capture something every day, even if it’s not an image that I love. I have realized that having a complete project is so much more important for me than having a groundbreaking shot each and every day – so if I can’t come up with something amazing when it’s cloudy, that’s just the way it has to be.
What have you learned through your process with your personal project?
It’s amazing how much you can learn through a project that is so simple. I’ve learned more than I ever would have imagined about our local weather patterns and how varied and wonderful clouds can be. I’ve learned that I love routine and consistency – choosing and posting my sky image is my nightly ritual and a must-do before I can fall asleep. I think more than anything, though I’ve learned that when it comes to personal projects it’s YOU who make the rules. I started out worrying about technicalities – that each image should have a certain percentage of sky or that silhouettes and foreground objects couldn’t be too prominent. I worried that I needed a specific mix of daytime and sunset images and a myriad of other silly little things like that. But as it’s gone along I realize that the more I shoot what captivates me and what catches my attention, the more beautiful and interesting the project becomes as a whole. I’m learning to trust my own vision.
Is there anything additional about your project that readers may find interesting?
I started my first project 365 back in 2007 and have tried to keep up with them regularly ever since. That first year was the only one that I really finished because in subsequent years I was always so busy and life was so chaotic – it felt like a burden to remember to shoot my daily image and then post it. I thought that the sky series would be an easy way to get back into the routine of a daily image project because I always have my iphone with me. The funny thing is, I realized through working on this project that even if it was a daily sky photo with my “real” camera I still would be just as excited to shoot it because it’s the subject that’s so invigorating for me. I could photograph the sky all day long, every day of the year because its something that I find fascinating.
Working on this 365 has shown me the difference between doing a personal project out of obligation, and doing one to fuel a passion and desire for exploration. One is bound to burn out while the other is self-sustaining because it becomes more interesting and complex the longer it goes on. I started this project with the intent of photographing the sky once a day for a year, but honestly at this point I can’t imagine ever stopping my sky series. It’s become such a part of who I am and what I do every day that it would seem incredibly arbitrary to just end it because the year ran out. I can’t wait to see what a lifetime of daily sky images look like all together.