2019 in seconds

My one second every day project continues to be my favorite thing ever. This is my third year completing this project (although my first year, I started in February) and watching these all together each month and then at the end of the year is so cool. Their little voices! The fact that they’re running 75% of the time! There’s so much that’s difficult in life, but somehow, seeing these little snippets of wonder reminds me how much we truly have to be grateful for. I can’t wait to keep this going in 2020!

(2017 in seconds | 2018 in seconds)

2018 in seconds

For a second year, I’ve been using the 1 Second Everyday app to document our lives. Although I’ve documented a lot of my years with daily photo projects, it got a lot harder to keep up once Ben and Jojo were part of our lives… while also being more important than ever to capture these fleeting moments. I could not love this project more, and seeing these little tidbits brings so much joy. 2017 and the first half of 2018 were more difficult than anything I’ve ever faced, and this project has made it so much easier to really SEE how very much there is to be grateful for, even when things feel so dark. It sort of kills me to see how little the kids are in the first half of this video (don’t even get me started on 2017’s video!) but it’s just so mindblowing how much they’ve grown and learned and blossomed this year. I can’t wait to keep going with this in 2019.

2017 in seconds

I started documenting our lives using the 1 Second Everyday app in February, and I couldn’t have known then how much would happen this past year. It was the hardest year I can ever remember, for so many reasons, and this project made it so much easier to remember how much there is in our lives that is still so, so good. I’ll be forever grateful to it for that reason. It’s crazy how something that sounds so simple and small- one second of video every day, all mashed together at the end- can be so happy and hopeful and wonderful. I’ve shared each month’s video as I made them, but wanted to save the full video here for posterity. It’s absolutely astounding how much can change in a year, and I can’t wait to continue this project in 2018!

Ben in January

Although I only halfway succeeded at my 2015 attempt to take a photo of Ben once a week with my real camera, I couldn’t resist starting the project again for 2016. Because the whole point is that I need to be taking more photos of him with my actual camera. So here are the weekly photos of Ben from January!

1/52Thanks, I think, to my dad, Ben totally cheeses for the big camera now. I think it started as a reaction to the flash, but who even cares when he’ll smile like this for you on cue?

As much as he’s still my baby, the glimpses of Ben as a kid are way more frequent lately. Like when he was sitting in the kitchen, just reading the NutriBullet manual.

Sit him in a snow drift almost as tall as him? No thank you. Let him run up and down the shoveled path in the driveway? All day forever. This kid LOVES being outside. Even in really cold weather with wet feet, apparently.

4/52Ben’s new favorite game is dragging a kitchen chair to the sink to play. Which means there’s an entirely new area that is no longer a safe place to leave things that aren’t for toddlers.

In 2016, I’m taking a photo of Ben each week with my real camera.



This kid has so many expressions, but his impish grin is one of my favorites. This has been the scene for so much of this week – working on his floor routine (this week he figured out how to army crawl and sit up on his own from his belly!), feeling his two brand new teeth with his tongue all. day. long.

In 2015, I’m taking a photo of Ben each week with my real camera.


I have been trying to write something to introduce and explain this new photo project I’m undertaking this year, and I keep typing and deleting everything I’ve written. I feel this need to explain why I want to do this, when I spent much of the last few months trying to let myself OFF of the hook of formal projects. And I really, really didn’t want to have anything serious for 2015, other than Project Life and Ben’s baby album, just because there’s only so much creative time around here these days.

But then a few more of my internet friends (blogging friends and flickr friends alike!) have started new 52 weeks projects, and the more I think about it, the more it feels like what I really should be doing. I have stopped using my dSLR almost entirely, with the exception of Ben’s monthly photos, and that’s just not okay with me. I don’t want a project that’s going to stress me out, but I really should be taking more photos of my son with something other than my dumb phone. (And look at that, I tried to be concise and simple and I just went and wrote 200 words. Sigh.)


And so! In 2015, I’ll be taking a photo of Ben each week with my real camera.

On Daily Photo Projects

01.15.2014 :: frozen fog

I seem to have signed myself up for another year of daily photos without fully intending to. My fourth round of Project 365 (from July 2011-July 2012) didn’t feel like much of a success, considering how I had to drag myself kicking and screaming through it. Which isn’t to say I haven’t gotten to that kicking and screaming stage with each round of Project 365. But after that last time, I said I really, really wouldn’t do it again, and I meant it.

02.05.2014 :: iced over

And then, just like every period between Project 365 years, I kind of … totally stopped taking photos like I used to. This time, it’s been different, because sure, I’m still taking photos almost every day, but they’re for my scrapbook. There’s a subtle difference in my head in photo quality based on where I share them: instagram is all phone photos, and has now become the place where I share photos just for fun, or something funny I noticed. It’s also the place where I interact with others the most; many of my old flickr friends have moved entirely to instagram, and I’ve made quite a few new ones through the #projectlife hashtag, which is awesome. Flickr is still the place where I post my “real” photos, the ones I am proud of or think are slightly better than the everyday stuff I share on instagram (although there’s definitely overlap between the two). And then there are the photos that only ever make it into my scrapbook: every day photos that document life or an event simply or less artfully but that aren’t “worthy” of sharing on the internet at large (like blurry photos of Luna playing or being crazy). Sometimes I can’t even describe how I make this decision on a particular photo.

02.19.2014 :: baby kitten/baby belly

All of that to explain that I’ve been taking plenty of photos, but the purpose is totally different. I’m documenting everyday life, but the art and creativity isn’t always there. I haven’t added very many photos at all to my Ones I Like Best flickr set. I’m not going on photo walks or taking photos just because or bringing my “real” camera around with me anymore. When I was in the throes of the first three rounds of Project 365, I ALWAYS had my dSLR with me. Sure, that’s how my beloved XTi got so beat up, but I also wasn’t missing out on photos like I am now. The excuse is surely that the iPhone camera is better than any other phone camera I’ve had… but even with the photos I take on the iPhone that I love, somewhere in there, I know it could have turned out just a bit better.

02.23.2014 :: lazy Sunday

A few of my flickr friends are still working on daily photo projects, and a few others started new ones on January 1st. I took a photo on the first day of the year, and tossed around the idea of doing a photo a day for the month of January… and then got a whole bunch of capslock-filled comments urging me to just keep going for the year. I couldn’t really argue with them; 2014 is going to be a hell of a year, and how awesome would it be to document it like I always used to? To get back into real photography just in time to have the greatest photo subject of all on the scene?

02.24.2014 :: sunset drive

I’m 64 days into the project, and I’m beginning to wonder if it was a super great idea. But then, Project 365 is always the hardest in the winter, when it’s cold and there’s no light and you don’t DO much. I really do miss photography and taking photos I’m proud of, stretching that particular side of my creativity. And if there’s anything I’ve learned about myself, it’s that when I start a project that involves numbering, once I’ve started, I’m pretty unlikely to give up out of stubbornness or an OCD need to not miss a day or end on a random day. So here I am. Again, apparently. Even though I said I’d never do it again.

Never say never again, I guess.


My current favorite photo project this summer is Operation Photo Butt-Kick, which a few of us started together as a way to kick-start our photography creativity. There’s a new challenge every two weeks, and it has definitely gotten me and my camera out the door taking pictures again. Which is kind of the whole point. The current challenge is to find a photography (or photo-editing/processing) tutorial online and use it to take (or edit) a photo. I bookmark photo tutorials all the time, but almost never find a reason to actually use them, so I was really glad to see this one.

I ended up deciding to try out freelensing, based on two tutorials I found: one from Photojojo and another from B&H. (I also watched a few youtube videos.) I’d read about it once a long time ago and thought it was cool … but that’s as far as it got.

Basically, you detach your lens from the camera to achieve a tilt-shift (or lensbaby-ish) blur, or to get a really close-up macro shot. It’s tricksy, though, because the lens is, you know, detached, meaning that it can’t talk to the camera. I tried this out with two lenses – the 40mm pancake (because it’s my new favorite) and the 50mm (which is recommended in the tutorial).

40mm2 (2) 50mm2 (1)
my two control/test shots; 40mm on the left and 50mm on the right.

I found that the 40mm was reeeeally hard to manipulate and focus once it was off of the camera (duh) because it’s so small. It worked better if I got much, much closer to T-Rex. I also got better/more noticeable results if I tilted the lens farther away from the camera than I needed to later with the 50mm.

40mm2 (1)

The 50mm has a longer focal length, and that was pretty apparent with this experiment. It also let in WAY more light, so almost every freelensed photo I took was really blown out, even adjusting the settings to try to compensate. I had to stay a little farther away, but got subtle effects with not a lot of tilt, and then some pretty wacky/over-exaggerated effects tilting it farther.

50mm2 (2)

My camera’s live view mode was awesome for helping to focus, for sure. And I definitely should have done this with a setup that didn’t involve photographing something very small that was directly on the ground, because it meant sitting with my elbows on the concrete trying to balance, and hunching way over to get close enough. Don’t do that. I would love to try this in the recommended types of scenes – streets, cube farms, etc, but I also wanted to do this in the safety of a relatively static environment where I could take a ton of shots and mess around without getting caught. But all in all, this was a fun experiment. Will I use it all the time forever? Probably not. But I’m also glad I tried it.

365 x 4

Oh, Project 365. I can’t seem to ever let you go, no matter how insane you have been making me, on and off for the past six years. (Seriously?) This fourth round was by far the toughest, and despite the struggles, I managed to stick with it, and my last, 365th day, was this past week, the day before my sister’s wedding. (Hence the delay in actually posting anything.)

I went to a party store and bought a giant bunch of balloons. It was very tempting to buy the 3 foot tall silver mylar 3 6 and 5 but I couldn’t figure out why on earth I needed those, so I just went with regular balloons. Squeezing between dinner and bridesmaid manicures, I stopped at my parents’ house, balloons in tow, to get a photo. Except I’d forgotten my tripod AND my remote, so I ended up needing my dad’s help with the final shot. The brightly colored balloons were supposed to go with that whole eight weeks of color thing I started and didn’t really stick with… and it was so fun to be in the backyard trying to get cute, artistic shots with balloons, even though I had to head back out so soon.

365.365 :: the party's over

But I got my shot, and a few extras for fun that I’ll post tomorrow. And mostly, I can’t believe that I did this again. I’m proud, even though this year contained a whole lot more cell phone photos than I’d like to admit, as well as a few missed days entirely. I don’t think I’ll be doing this again anytime soon, but hopefully Project Life will keep me shooting, so I won’t think I need to start another year sometime soon.

Here are a few of my favorite photos from my 30th year.

27.365 :: early morning beach

51.365 :: carlos o'connor's

52.365 :: Mets vs Cubs

107.365 :: evening glow

159.365 :: lights and bricks

165.365 :: twenty twelve

193.365 :: actually, I said, "hell yes."

276.365 :: silhouette

289.365 :: date night

290.365 :: a day in the city

299.365 :: new stripes!

313.365 :: details