For the Overachiever

If you’re reading this, there’s a pretty good chance you either are an overachiever or know one. Actually there’s a 100% chance that’s true because if you aren’t one, you know me and I am one. Without question.

I’m going to let you in on a little secret for how to build in permission to slow down in your life.

For me, it started with my first 365 challenge issued by Scott Bourne. The rules he set were strict, without exception. I found myself inspired, challenged and seriously struggling to meet them every day. I got the message and importance of each of the rules, but the reality of life got in the way. That year I did my best to meet the expectations of all the rules, but fell short a few times. The results were tremendous but the level of stress and joy that it required was often more than the joy and pleasure I wanted to experience from the process.

I wouldn’t trade it for anything, but what I learned from that process helped me craft a new set of expectations for my second journey down 365 lane. This time I set the rules with an understanding of what was most important. I want to take or post a picture every day, and this far I’ve done that. In fact, the taking of the images is more important than the posting so that’s my focus.

You may have noticed that it’s been about 5 days since I posted an image. That doesn’t mean they didn’t happen. But by giving myself permission to take or post an image, I’ve successfully created an environment where the most important aspect of the challenge gets the focus. That’s critical and so important in helping me keep up with the challenge and joy involved.

How could you rethink or re-imagine your 365 challenge or a new one that will move you closer to where you want to be without adding any unnecessary rules that will hinder your creativity or steal your joy?

For the record, this is where most of my time and attention went last week…

tasra-class-zero-preso-image

This is the first section in a presentation I prepared for Class 0, a new class created by tentblogger John Saddington. We started doing some of the pre-work for the class in December, but the first official meeting was Thursday of last week.

Here’s a description of what the class involves:

  • crazy intense and rigorous program of knowing oneself, knowing what drives them and their passions, and then giving them tools to make these ideas happen.
  • It may end up changing the trajectory of your career… and life. No softball pitches here.
  • You need to be ready to be vulnerable with me and two other people whom you have never met.
  • You need to be humble enough to be challenged but sure of your desire for professional change and growth.
  • Walking away with an incredible new perspective on how you were made and your unique strengths, your core motivations as a person and professional, and a toolkit and method to make your ideas happen.
  • The bragging rights of being called “Class 0″ – so cool.
I’ll be posting images from our first meeting since I captured some for my 365 project and to capture the amazing experience we all had!
Until then, remember to rethink your “rules” to set yourself up for success and joy in your work and life!

 

Nothing Beats an Afternoon Nap (D310)

The heat wave is hitting Atlanta again. As temperatures soar outside it seriously limits our options for outside activities… no long walks or picnics in the park. My ever-innovative son decided to make the best of the situation and create his own picnic in the living room… just a blanket, lunchbox and his trusty basketball and he was set.

Of course, nothing beats an afternoon nap for completing the picnic experience. While he was playing quietly and pretending to be on a picnic, I left to get some work done. About 15 minutes later, I went back to check on him and this is what I found…

75 DAY SPRINT TO THE FINISH UPDATE
It’s 55 days now. Where is the time going? I’ve been focusing on my health and weight. Here’s what happened so far…

  1. Consistent on my diet plan with approx. 1200 cal/day
  2. Consistent on my exercise with burning 500 – 750 cal/day at least 5 days/week
  3. Weight loss so far = 6.5 pounds
  4. Going to bed much earlier (not always falling asleep early though)

I’m very pleased with the first two. I’m a little frustrated with the actual numbers on the scale seeming to be stuck. Not sure how they can get stuck when I’m not cheating on the diet and working out so much. Holding out hope that the scale will soon budge and show a big leap downward. The fourth is probably the most frustrating… even when I go to bed by 11 pm which is a huge improvement over 2 am, I sometimes take 3 hours to fall asleep.

I think it’s all about retraining my body and mind to this new routine so I’m going to stick in there and keep it up with hopes that my body will reward me with results I really want to see.

If you took the challenge, how are you doing?!?

A Self-Confessed Quitters Guide to Project 365

Guest post by Mark Churly of Prophecy Blur, one of the tasra365 challenge photographers. If you’d like to be a guest blogger or featured photographer on tasramar.com, leave a comment below.

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Photo © Prophecy Blur

Learning from a Self-Confessed Quitter
It’s quite hard to remember exactly why I started my Project 365. I do know it was after watching the film Julie and Julia on a plane. I was inspired by the character of Julie Powel, a self confessed quitter who took up a challenge to cook her way through “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” in a year. I could see myself in her character, and as my mum will testify I have never stuck at anything!

When I got back from holiday I looked around on the Internet and found an article on Photography 365 projects. So it was with all that in mind that I decided to undertake my Project 365, and the commitment to take a photo a day for a year. My goal was simple, to become a better photographer, and in the process document a year of my life.

Number ONE Tip
I have learnt there is no point in having a great camera if you don’t use it. For my project I have been using a pocket camera (Canon Powershot S90) because I knew I needed to have a something with me at all times. In doing so I have found myself experimenting much more than ever. Often the shots I have ended up using have been the ones where I have thought. “I wonder what it would be like if I….”

Photo © Prophecy Blur

Photo © Prophecy Blur

This is my number one tip; take your camera with you everywhere. I can guarantee the day I pop out to the post office and leave my camera on the table, is the day is see something interesting and unique on the way.

Becoming a Better Photographer
I have already seen an improvement in the composition, processing and style of my photography in the 100+ days I have been going so far. I have actually found myself to be the biggest challenge; I want each and every day to be perfect. I become deeply frustrated if I am not happy with a days photo.

However just as I am mentally beginning to give up (maybe after a couple of days of bad photos), I take a photo that works perfectly. For me it is the photographic equivalent of hitting a perfect shot in golf, all the negativity melts away, and I know why I am doing this. I am already a better photographer, and by the end of this project I hope to be much much better.

My advice would be if you are thinking of doing a Project 365, then do it, you won’t regret it.

Image © Prophecy Blur

Image © Prophecy Blur

How One Photographer Literally Stumbled into Project 365

Today’s Feature Friday photographer is David Abbishaw, also known as _iDavid on twitter and found at funkydunky.net. His story will have you laughing and learning all the way through.

Stumbling into a 365
How I got started with Project 365 was quite by accident – literally. I’d been unfortunate enough to badly sprain my ankle whilst out cross country walking and had been told to work from home as I was perceived to be a health and safety hazard in the workplace. As I couldn’t get out and about with my camera I decided that I should channel some of the lost time into reading and learning as much about photography as possible.

Whilst reading everything I could get my hands on I came across some posts by Scott Bourne and decided to follow him on Twitter. A few days went by and he posted his congratulations to Tasra on taking his suggestion to take 1 photograph every day to improve her photography by 300%. I was instantly intrigued and read back through Tasra’s time line and then followed her on Twitter. My aim was to join her in the challenge as soon as I was back on my feet walking again.

No More Excuses
A few days went by and I awoke to the realization that, although I couldn’t walk, it was no excuse not to start Project 365. I started that day using items around the house as my subjects – in fact on day 1 I created a tale of war between two tribes of Smarties – with a little twist around the shadows.

Day1

What have I achieved? Well, apart from posting one picture every day and increasing my right brain and beginning to find my style, I’ve entered a few competitions; one that’s run by my local council has chosen my work for the front cover for three consecutive editions, with a circulation of around 60,000 copies. More recently I’ve been lucky enough to donate 5 images for the “Images without Borders” Haiti appeal. Most importantly though, I’ve found my first real outlet for my photography where other people are enjoying and commenting on some of my work.

Spread the LOVE
One of my biggest delights was when Tasra linked to a pasta triptych photograph that I’d created for one of her Twitter challenges. I was amazed when I saw the statistics stating that several hundred people had checked it out. My only disappointment was that no one left a comment.

Day48

More importantly, I’ve amassed over 100 new followers on Twitter who regularly view and comment upon my work. This alone has been enough inspiration for me to keep going, even when it’s been hard. I think one of the main reasons this has been so important to me is that before Project 365 I was struggling to find an outlet for my photography and find people who didn’t really know me to critique my work and hopefully give me honest feedback.

Well I’m now more than 160 days into the challenge and although I’ve yet to miss a day, I can honestly say that recently the challenge has become harder. In the early days I had several good ideas every day. In fact at one point I even started a list just to make sure I always had something to take daily. I guess I’m one of the people that like to plan things.

If you’re wondering whether I post-process my images, I can confess to post-processing all my images – I shoot in raw plus large jpeg. I have a general rule not to spend more than about 5 minutes on each image although it’s usually less as I tend to make the same adjustments to most images and have created the odd action in Photoshop or an Adobe Raw Preset. I’ve also learned the keyboard shortcuts for my common tasks which I’ve found to really speed things up.

The Future Looks Bright
I’ve secretly started my own offspring project; I’m calling it Project 12. The idea is to take 1 good seasonal photograph every month that you don’t publish or show people, then come Christmas there will be a set of 12 good unseen photos for a Calendar that I’ll gift to friends and family.

Day69

I’m hoping that spring will bring some new inspiration, the last few months in Britain have been fairly bleak and grey, and it’s not too inspiring travelling to and from work every day in the dark.

A Warning & Challenge for YOU
For anyone that’s reading this and thinking about following Tasra in her challenge, I’d say go for it! It will truly improve your photography, but – isn’t there always a but? – I’d also like to warn you that it can be hard work and a real challenge some days, but those days can also be the best days. I’d also like to say that to get the most from the challenge I’d recommend you search on Twitter for #tasra365 and look and comment on other peoples work that you like. Leave a link to your website or blog and I’m sure that people will be more likely to come and comment on your own work. Give it a try – it can be a real inspiration. And don’t forget you can also chat to fellow #tasra365 people on Twitter.

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Oops nearly forgot – Tasra – Thanks for sharing your project 365 with me and thank you for the opportunity to be a feature Friday guest.

Special thanks to David for sharing his story & images. Stop by his site and give him some comment love!

Are You a Shadow of Your Former Self… (D164)

… or is your former self a shadow of you?

Pause. Think about it.

The normal way we hear this phrase is a negative. You’re a shadow of your former self, your glory days, your “thin” days or days in the skinny jeans.

What if we turn the saying on it’s head… is your former self a shadow of you?

For me, it’s the latter. When I think about myself just 10 years ago, I was in a remarkably different place physically, professionally, emotionally, and relationally. Who I was then is really just a shadow of who I am now… and that’s a really good thing. I’m stepping into more of who I really am, embracing that and praying for the courage to continue sharing it with the world.

What about you? Are living in the shadows or stepping out of them?

Image Setup: Today’s theme was shadow so I wanted to try something different. For this shot, I set up a green screen background and placed two lights without the soft box diffuser pointing directly at the subject. One light was about a foot below the the other. I positioned myself to the right of the subject so that I could capture both shadows. I wanted to demonstrate the idea of a person’s former self being a shadow of them… thus the lighter shadow behind.

Equipment & Specs: Nikon D50, 28-70 mm lens, 1/100 @ f/5, ISO 800

Image Processing: Processed in Lightroom with Matt’s Summer Haze and Seim Effects Dark Vignette (if you use Lightroom, Gavin Seim has a 2010 and 2009 gift pack of free presets for download). I wasn’t really sure what look I was going for, but as I scrolled through my presets, I really liked the hazy, gritty look of these two presets. Then I took the image into Photoshop and tried another MCP Finish It Action Set that I mentioned yesterday. Tried a new frame that automatically rounds the corners and adds a bottom heavy border for your logo or banner. Decided to go with something simpler today. Above is another version with a different border and a watermark that I used for the featured gallery image. I’m loving the ease of use and the options. tasra365-shadow

Manual: Page 66—Printing Selected Photographs

Images: Since I was already on his site, I looked at Gavin Seim’s images.

Twitter Tuesday Featuring YOU! (2/9)

1 I really can’t believe how quickly one week fades into another. Seems like I was just posting Twitter Tuesday and here it is again! So fun each week to see who is still working to improve their photography 300% in one year and post about it on twitter.

We’re getting close to 400 photographers who have signed up for tasra365. I’d love to see it reach beyond that as we continue to focus on our creativity and develop the discipline necessary to take our art further than we may have even imagined!

Would LOVE for you to take a minute to visit the following photogs working out their craft and sharing their heart every day in images! If you’d like to be added to the list, just leave a comment below.

_mg_5354_normal kylelauritzen Day 141: Banana Bread and Milk http://bit.ly/auSRQ3

Twitterprofilephoto_normal gergtreble Day 40: Wall Code http://bit.ly/9w1n9C

Butcher_row_e14_normal ProphecyBlur Day 75: When You Say Nothing At All (http://cli.gs/R1RGr)

Da_normal _iDavid Day 154 – Pac Choi – Last day of my mini vegtable series http://bit.ly/90ugar

Twitterpic2_normal Techy_Girl Day 39 and 40 photos now posted http://flic.kr/p/7BMB4v

Mrrrgh_normal onetake how many ways can you say…13/365 http://flic.kr/p/7BLXgd

3632142973_1a805db092_o__1__normal Michellebondy Day 18/365 http://bit.ly/d58faZ

Michelle_blue_normal mytwoseasons Day 40 of Project 365. Yay for day 40! http://bit.ly/cK2PbM

Howling_wolves_144_144_normal howlingwolves Day 110:- Snow tread http://j.mp/40zTaj

Kentwitter_normal kenworley Day 123: Circular Blade, part of the 365 Challenge, is up http://tiny.cc/70ou6

Ajw_2009_normal AlisaWhitley Day40 photo posted on the blog. I was surprised….http://bit.ly/7Ht7w7

15845_214009587180_712827180_3689465_4855751_n_normal npbradshaw Day 150 (a bridge over water): http://bit.ly/dtfgGd

3day_logo_walker_normal nowpencan 40/365: Snowy Day http://prizedpixels.blogspot.com/2010/02/40365-snow-dogs.html

Blender_normal greygirl25 Day 40 – VooDoo Donuts http://tinyurl.com/yezmp9w

Priti_manga_normal pitli27 Nature gave vs Man made – Walnut http://flic.kr/p/7BUK4a

20090702_contemplating_0220_normal bbui Finally caught up on posting my #project365 images: http://bit.ly/bCdWdX

Kevin3_normal kvoth Just Posted: D161: Drums #tasra365 #photog #project365 #dailyphoto http://bit.ly/c3yNF1

Ingrid-1-2_normal ingridew Today’s Photo Bad to da bone #photography #tasra365 #project365 http://bit.ly/ctjAhr

Img_9259_edited-1_normal SimplyKuni TwitterTuesday, D40: Missing http://bit.ly/4ok2vk

6300_721011500107_9601193_41174076_4420539_n_normal Brian_e_Palmer Day 150, Abstract shapes from common household items. http://bit.ly/a8no0M

Rcd_3180sm_normal robertdonovan Day 32 of 365: Eneman loves you http://tinyurl.com/yjvjcx7

Img_9208_normalkc9cgj Project 365 post for Tuesday: Day 157/365 “Reflections” http://bit.ly/bNF9dQ

Me_normal datkins Been a few days since I linke to my #tasra365 challenge. Check out my photos at www.carvedtortoise.tumblr.com

Sueandi_normal Beaneyman Day 16 Splash ! http://beaneyman.blogspot.com/2010/02/project-365-day-16.html

NEW! Nancy Brown momentsbehindthelens.blogspot.com

How Do I Love Thee? Let Me Count the Ways… (The Husband Project)

Did you notice that my list of five reasons I love my husband was missing from the 51 Reasons Real Women Love Their Husbands article? I left mine off because 51 reasons sounded so much better than 56 reasons. Kinda silly, but I liked the fact that I had exactly 10 women share their reasons for why they loved their husbands… and one wife who just couldn’t resist adding an extra one!

Today you get to see my list… kind of. The second step in ramping up for The Husband Project is to count the ways you love your husband (or wife if you’re playing along!). Instead of being ordinary, I thought we could go about it in a fun, un-ordinary kind of way.

Here’s my list as an example…

counting-love I’m going to send my husband this card with the different numbers and see if he can decipher what each number represents. Some are easier than others, but the entire process was a great lesson in the importance of keeping track of your love. Being intentional with reminders of why you love your husband is powerful.

YOUR CHALLENGE
Take a few minutes to think of some creative numbers you can use to count the ways you love your husband, then leave a comment below, tweet or Facebook about it and make sure to tell your husband. We’re going to revolutionize our marriages this month!

BONUS POINTS
If anyone can correctly guess what each of these numbers represent, I will send you a special gift in the mail! Good luck!

If you enjoyed this article, please consider tweeting it with the retweet button above or green Share This button below. Thanks!

Carry Your Camera Around — An Obligation or Opportunity

“I’m a photographer, I carry a camera around.” —Jay Maisel

So says master photographer Jay Maisel in a candid conversation about photography. His matter-of-fact point about someone who is a photographer always carrying their camera around is refreshing (scroll down to see the interview).

When I first started tasra365 and invited other aspiring and professional photographers to join me, one of the most common objections or complaints was the “inconvenience” of carrying a big camera everywhere.

Really? You’re a photographer or aspiring photographer and it’s inconvenient for you to carry your camera with you? Jay Maisel would be astonished at that mindset. Mr. Maisel, who is recognized as one of the top natural-light color photographers in the world and has been shooting commercially since the mid 1950’s, believes that if you’re a photographer, carrying your camera around is an obligation, it should be a way of life.

maisel-tasramar-blog

© 2007 Photo by Jeff Schewe

For me, I’ll admit it took me a while to get used to that idea, but now throwing my camera in my purse along with my wallet is natural. I keep my smaller lens on so that it’s more portable and just go with it.

Here are a few more choice quotes from his interview. Check them out and then watch and be inspired by the master himself to never leave home without your camera again.

“If I carry a camera around I don’t have to go out shooting, I’m always out shooting.”

“The less equipment you take, the more pictures you take.”

“If I go out and I have no idea what I’m going to shoot, that’s an adventure to me.”

“You just never know what you’re going to find.”

Are You Living a Life You Love?

If the answer is anything but a resounding yes, then you need to join us in the One Month to Live Challenge. It’s never too late to start creating the life you’ve always wanted! Each button will take you to a new day… Get started now!

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Inspired by Photographer Robert Frank: A Different View of NY & Manhattan (D34)

Not all tall buildings in New York hold the promise of glitz and glamour. I would venture to say that the “sky terrace” on this building is vastly different than the one I experienced at the Hudson Hotel in Manhattan.

I’ve been challenged by Robert Frank’s willingness to defy the status quo and his intentional pairing of contrasting images to tell a story. As a photographer he did more than capture compelling images, he captured moments, peoples, history, pain, purpose, and in doing so he told a story—their story and his own. It is through that lens, I chose this photo.
tasra365-ny-view

This is what Jack Kerouac said of Robert Frank:

Robert Frank, Swiss, unobtrusive, nice, with that little camera that he raises and snaps, with one hand he sucked a sad poem right out of America onto film, taking rank among the tragic poets of the world.

Elizabeth Kunreuther wrote:

Frank’s pictures broke all the rules of photography. Photography before Frank was pristine: carefully focused, carefully lit. Frank would intentionally lose focus, his work was shadowy and grainy, full of unconventional cropping and angles. He broke the rules in order to be true to his vision of America he saw in his travels across the country in 1955 and 1956. Frank’s work clashed with the prevailing trend in photography.

In 1958 Frank himself wrote:

I do not anticipate that the onlooker will share my viewpoint. However, I feel that if my photograph leaves an image on his mind – something has been accomplished…. It is important to see what is invisible to others—perhaps the look of hope or the look of sadness.

What will be said of me when someone views the body of my work at the end of this year or the end of my life? What will they say of you? Are you seeing the invisible?

Manual: Page 119—Caring for the Camera. Battery cleaning and storage. Notes on the monitor. Basic stuff.

Images: In the same place I found the above quotes, I discovered a photographer that Robert Frank admired. Today I viewed the work of Walker Evans.