Friday, April 24, 2015

My #100dayproject of photography, storytelling, travel, and outdoor adventure life

It sure has been quiet here on the blog lately but do not think for one second that the OTBP crew has halted outdoor adventures.  Oh no, not the case.  What has happened is an Instagram project called #The100DayProject has taken up a large portion of my blogging time. 

What Is the 100-Day Project? It’s a celebration of process that encourages everyone to participate in 100 days of making. The great surrender is the process; showing up day after day is the goal. For the 100-Day Project, it’s not about fetishizing finished products—it’s about the process.  More information on this project and where it originated from can be found at The Great Discontent.

I was hesitant to jump aboard a 100 day project.  Sticking to something for 100 days and sharing through Instagram felt like a huge commitment so I thought if I was going to go ahead with it, I needed to come out of the project with something learned that I can benefit from in some way, shape or form.  I thought long and hard about what I could "make" in 100 days.  For me, creativity is expressed through photography and storytelling so that what my 100 day project is.  


My project involves getting back to using the Canon Rebel and Nikon1 cameras rather than my cellphone.  As well as working on capturing GoPro photos that are unique and fun.  My goal will be to take notice and use the settings, composition, lighting, and color in a photograph that will tell a story with as little words as possible or to set a scene or mood to tell a story.  Some photos will fall short of my expectations but will trust the process and learn along the way.  During the 100 days, I will share my artistic impressions of nature, objects, people, places, and creatures that contribute to the outdoor adventures of the OTBP crew.

This project has two purposes.  

1. Improving my photography skills and storytelling will help capture amazing moments during our next unique travel experience.  We will be travelling to Czech Republic, Austria, and Germany and visiting places that have great meaning to our family.  Our journey will take us to family property dating back to the early 1900's and visit places we have been told stories about.  We will stand on cobblestone streets that generations before us have stood and feel close to those we have lost. Together, with extended family, I want to capture these moments so my kids will have stories to tell for generations to come.  There will also, of course, be time for outdoor adventure.

2. Not everyday is full on outdoor adventure in our house.  This project will tell a story, behind the scenes, of how a family makes outdoor adventure a priority.  Everyday is a mixed bag of who is doing what where but at the end of it all, outdoor adventure had touched the lives of at least one of us.  It is a bit more of a personal look into my life but in order to tell stories that have more meaning and impact, I will have to practice telling my own stories.

Here is a quick look at Days 1 - 16.  Hope you enjoy!

1/100: Weathered barn, with its warm tones and inviting presence, welcoming us to Burgoyne Bay Road [Salt Spring Island, BC] Local knowledge brought me and a couple friends here to find an elusive trailhead that leads up to Mt. Maxwell.  Since this is the photo I choose to share from that adventure should indicate how that turned out.  It's OK though, because to follow adventure means doors will open where you didn't know they were going to be.  And what an adventure it was!

2/100: So, I went with go big or go home for day 2.  Probably not the best choice.  Shooting directly into the sunlight not easy, certainly not with landscape shots.  Point is though, when out adventuring, most often I am forced to take photos without controlling what time of day it is.  So I need to adapt. Lesson learned - use manual mode to control aperture, iso, and shutter speed.  Bring a tri-pod (that's why we have it!) Try different lens to capture lens flare. Even though the photo did not turn out as expected, it does have a soft dreamy feel to it.  Misty air, sunbeams, and waterfalls. Still need to work on the picture telling the story. [Not pictured, muddy kids.]

3/100: Spent an hour facing the coast, testing multiple settings, changing the angels, using natural light with the Nikon1 camera only to have a small voice keep asking if she can take some pictures.  So, with my cell phone, this is what I captured.

4/100: Here is where my desire to photograph a story rather than tell it and using an actual camera become my greatest challenge.  Not much of a story to see but plenty to share.  Spontaneous adventure date with my favorite person, exploring a new area, full on embracing this mountain biking passion he has and getting in my daily dose of fitness.  As for the photo itself, kinda boring and how the hell do I ride with camera gear? This has become the number one reason why my cell phone has taken over the role of camera on our adventures.  Many days left in this project to figure out a way to change this. Regardless, it was super fun afternoon of riding with my love and NO picture could make that any sweeter. 

5/100: Photo not so much about the adventure but rather who I adventure with.  Pretty happy with the result of this photo.  Back light, exposure and composition all captured with spontaneous expression a bonus! Her smile shines on every outdoor adventure and never get tired of taking her photo.  Happy to share one of her beautiful smiles today, taken while exploring the shores of the Salish Sea.

6/100: Large part of why we maintain outdoor adventuring as a family is to keep fit and be active.  Not always does it require hiking deep into the forests. A grassy field works well too.  Get your game on...Soccer Time!

7/100: Why don't we stop and take in the coast more often? Do we really lose sight of how beautiful and important they are because we are near them everyday? New routines have me in Nanaimo once a week for kids spring soccer practices and to pass the time I have been visiting the local beaches and coastlines near the soccer pitch.  The hour spent strolling along the beaches and losing myself in its vastness recharges my energy and lifts my soul.  On this particular day, when arriving back at the field to collect children, another parent commented to me on how I must find it great to travel to the north end (we live south) and be able to get a Costco run in while kids at practice.  Not once had that entered my mind and when I said, "Oh no, I went down to Pipers Lagoon for a quick stroll and explored Shack Island.  It is such a beautiful day out." Their response was, "Why would you do that?" and my only thought was why wouldn't I?
8/100: Only eight days into my project and I already realize that with every different outdoor adventure we pursuit, a different lens is required.  i had hoped to get back to using the Canon and Nikon cameras but perhaps exploring the different functions of each "digital" camera (be it a cellphone or GoPro) will work too.  Quick afternoon ride on trails somewhere along Nanaimo Lakes Road, where the trails are a mix of second growth, old growth, new growth, and newly logged.  No matter the terrain, the mountain bike shall go.

9/100: Borrowed this shot from another OTBP crew member because he is the only one that had an opportunity to do some adventuring today. Using his GoPro shot from a mountain bike ride to *undisclosed location ties into my project because quite often I use his photos from our outdoor adventures as well as my own.  We both have our own unique style and perspective which adds variety to my blog and other social media outlets. 

10/100: Today I had to make an effort to work in some outdoor time.  Yes, I opted to seek some outdoor time rather than shop at Costco...yet again. (see day 7 story) Today the challenge was advancing my photography skills since I only had my cell phone with me.  I took the opportunity to sharpen my "selfie" shot.

11/100: Often in my blogs I talk about how important it is for us, as a family, to maintain an active lifestyle.  A huge reason why we make family outdoor adventure a priority in our life.  I am a firm believer that not only should parents encourage physical activity be a part of their kids life, parents should role model that lifestyle as well. There are so many ways to work in these moments when spending time outdoors.  For example, when going for a light hike thru a park with your kids and you encounter stairs like these... do you walk up slowly, take two steps at at time, race up or try to squat jump all the way up?

12/100: When I started this project, I knew some days were not going to allow me to fulfill my goal, at least not with outdoor adventure photos.  That is when I realized telling a story of what happens behind the scenes of an outdoor adventure family is just as important, and often overlooked, as the adventure itself.  Today was that day.  My "desk" is an eclectic mix of what I do before most adventures and what this project is forcing me to take on in the hopes of improving my storytelling and photography skills.  Today I am researching waterfall photography skills and settings on multiple cameras in preparation for a weekend hike to...you guessed it...waterfalls! When that tires me, I move on to world family travel preparations we will be taking soon.  Then I flip back to the Van Isle map to make sure I know where I am going to find these waterfalls.  Take notes on what shutter speed does what with each camera because I have not decided which one I am bringing.  Of course coffee is required.  Distracted by the tiny KEEN sandal keychain, I check out Keen Footwear online because summer is almost here...sandal season! And then I dive back into dreaming of alpine peaks in the Salsburg Alps.  Oh, and in all this chaos I dyed my hair with blue highlights??!!?? That is a story for another day.

13/100: Thought I was going to work on my shutter speed skills today and instead found myself shooting in aperture mode.  Oh well, you win some, you lose some.  When shooting waterfalls, the most important lesson learned today was go alone.  4 kids, 4 adults, and 1 dog move way too fast! I had wanted to take some waterfall shots, you know, the kind where the water is all silky looking...and the Nile Creek Trail has plenty of waterfalls to practice with.  But as mentioned, my adventure partners for the day were far too busy catching frogs, climbing stumps, chasing birds to try and identify, grab snakes out of the grass, and walk across many makeshift bridges like this one.  I finally gave up and switched "modes'. Gotta go with the flow.
14/100: What was to be a quick photo shoot turned out to be a friendly game of who could tally up the most rock skips...and he won.

15/100: The photo may not be the greatest capture but the story that goes with makes for a post worthy to share.  Met up with three riders on the trail who were forthcoming and eager to share their local knowledge of the trails, and by local I mean builders of the trails we were seeking.  Happy to point out their best route, we took their advice.  As we said our thank yous and rode away, they made a point of mentioning we stop and water the pots...whatever that meant. Turns out, the trail they sent us on runs alongside a small old grow op turned garden.  We stopped, watered and continued on our way.  Yet another item to cross off my outdoor adventure list - water daffodils while mountain bike riding.

16/100: A bit of fun with color, texture, and the mini effect that adds to the anticipation of crossing the finish line.  Watched the boy run fast today at the district qualifying track and field. Finished top in all his heats.  Mom did not too bad either...cycled 13km there and 13km back...beat the school bus back to school.  Oh yeah, I rock! (still counts even if I left before the bus)

nique travel experience for those who are eager to know more about their family history and ancestral origins. Envision the fullness in your heart as you share photos with family you never knew existed or walk the cobblestoned streets through your ancestors’ village to the church where your great-great-grandfather was married. Enjoy visiting with local townsfolk in a beer garden, taking historical tours, and viewing lectures that enhance your knowledge of your ancestors’ lives. - See more at: http://familytreetours.com/#sthash.7DQ5JcOQ.dpuf
nique travel experience for those who are eager to know more about their family history and ancestral origins. Envision the fullness in your heart as you share photos with family you never knew existed or walk the cobblestoned streets through your ancestors’ village to the church where your great-great-grandfather was married. Enjoy visiting with local townsfolk in a beer garden, taking historical tours, and viewing lectures that enhance your knowledge of your ancestors’ lives. - See more at: http://familytreetours.com/#sthash.7DQ5JcOQ.dpuf

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