cc licensed flickr photo shared by cogdogblog

Wow it has been so nice to be lazy, to be spending what feels like more time offline than online. All of the tech todos on my list for the holiday vacation remain undone (the list crumpled up and is burning in the wood stove now). The plan to to the Epic Year End Blog Reflective post? Never drafted. The list of predictions, dreams, resolutions for 2010? Not happening.

But without dropping the intent to do something to wrap the year in a bow, is to say that the 2009 thing that has kept my sanity and sense of purpose on track has been for a second year doing the Post a Photo a Day Thing on Flickr started in 2007 by D’Arcy Norman.

People like D’Arcy and Dean are resilient enough to put their 365 photos into video form; I’m too lazy, so instead use the flickr slideshow embed.

I’ve been at flickr posting since 2004, but this year have felt a surge of re-inspiration for photography, especially after getting back into using a digital SLR and using my new lenses purchased in the summer… I’m trying many new things, angles, low light action and more. The other new driving force is participating in The Dailyshoot, a new “:thing” which sprouted in November 2009. Every day, the site tweets an assignment, and participants merely tweet a reply with a link to their photo.

Since doing this pretty regularly since the end of November, I am finding it sometimes driving the direction of my daily photographic action, and its a secondary photo (not necessarily a lesser one) that becomes my 365 photo shot. But having a specific assignment helps drive my action, and can save me on days when my inspiration is waning.

cc licensed flickr photo shared by cogdogblog

Of course, this becomes Yet Another Thing to Do Every Day– but I can vouch there is a reward in the doing- and discovering- and connecting with others…

I could wax a lot on my own reflections on looking back at people, places, and unusual objects photographed, but its really my own story for myself- but still, the regular exercise of finding a photo that represents your day, activities, feelings, or just plain experimentation, does for me what no medicine or meditation can ever do. Its not for everyone, and lots of people talk about not being able to maintain the pace for a year– that’s okay, there is no failing grade here.

These kind of “X Per Day” groups are not unique, but I still find it remarkable (note to self, some people feel “amazing” is used too often) that this group, completely organic, self organizing has grown now to 263 members, with almost 25000 photos shared since the first year for the group (2008). There’s a lot to say about this phenomenon I spouted in a Feb 2009 presentation at Northern Voice.

cc licensed flickr photo shared by cogdogblog

These are people doing incredible amounts of informal learning, networking, based on their interests, or desire to be better at something, or just a part of something. In this year, our flickr group saw a giant increase in the sharing/discussing in the flickr group discussions, and for a year, people picked up an ran with posting a monthly topic, as a help to drive people’s photo subjects. This was simple, I made the first topic in January, and the rule is the person who makes the current monthly topic can pick.tag someone else in the group to do it for the next month. This self-perpetuated for all 12 months last year, with no one in charge, or grading.

cc licensed flickr photo shared by cogdogblog

Heck, sometimes a gentle jab of a toy photo leads to a series of more unexpected connection….

So, I’ll be rewinding my flickr set for today, starting a new one, and setting out to do another year of daily photography. If you want any sense of what it means, and there are lots of stories out there like this, I hope it is okay Michael C if I share your message you sent today- it’s very powerful.

I first met Michael back in 2000 when I got my first Australia tour, and have had the pleasure of seeing him again on return trips to Adelaide or when he comes to the states. So while we’ve had this connection through other electronic and lesser in person opportunities, I find a real special way of knowing someone through their photographs- its some of what they see, where they live, but also says, “this is what is important or interesting to me.”

And with that, Micheal’s testimony–

I initially refused to accept the invitation to join the 2009/365 photos pool. I thought there would be no way I could keep up with posting a photo a day. After a few days mulling it over I decided what the hell and launched into it. I can now say categorically that it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made!

I had no idea what good would come from it. Over the course of this year, and because of my involvement in this project I have:

  • Become a better photographer
  • Opened my eyes to the world around me in a way I imagine children do naturally all the time, and in a way I can’t remember doing for a long long time
  • Have enjoyed hundreds of photos from fellow group members
  • Made many “˜Flickr friends’, as a result of sharing the minutiae of our daily lives
  • Experienced the cycle of the seasons as I watched the photos change from summer to winter and back again over the course of the year
  • really appreciated the support and tips from other group members
  • used Flickr has a visual Twitter and more readily turned to Flickr rather than Twitter to know what was going on in my network
  • eagerly looked forward to my daily walk with my camera to not only get needed exercise, but to take that daily photo
  • learned so much about other places I have never seen
  • Learned to look forward to every day as an opportunity to catch that special or unusual sight or moment
  • Learned that images can connect people with very few words
  • Learned that if I took the time to comment on others’ photos then people would reciprocate
  • Eagerly Looked at Flickr every day for responses to my photos
  • Become more assiduous with tagging and naming all photos

In short, I now appreciate the world around me more than I used to!

I will stay on as a more passive member of 2010/365, and free myself from the commitment to post a photo a day. As much as I have loved it, it has been a significant time commitment that I would now like to allocate to other tasks. But I will be there peeking around at your pix :)

Thank you everyone so much. It has been an absolute privilege to be part of this project and part of your lives.

All the very best for 2010, and keep on Flickring. I will.

Thanks Mike! I will see you there….

cc licensed flickr photo shared by cogdogblog

This post bookended by first and last photos for 2009!

The post "365 Photos/Rewind/Connect/Again" was originally squeezed out of the bottom of an old rusted tube of toothpaste at CogDogBlog ( on January 1, 2010.


  • D'Arcy Norman

    Alan, Evan and I just watched the entire 2009/365photos slideshow. Great stuff! I’m exhausted just seeing the locations you traveled to last year! :-)

    I’ve been loving the @dailyshoot project as well – there’s something about being given an assignment to help me find something interesting. Boundaries and constraints help creativity. Go figure.

    It’s been fun watching the 365photos group – it’s definitely taken on a life of its own. Nobody “runs” the group. It’s self-organized, self-directed, and active. Nobody could have set out to plan such a thing. It wouldn’t have worked.

    I’ll be doing 2010, too. Can’t imagine not doing the project now…

  • OogieM

    You’ve inspired me to try to shoot a picture every day. Not sure I’ll post them, but I will be joining in and maybe make a scrapbook of them next year.

  • Michelle Dyer-Hurdon

    Great post! Thanks are in order, because it was through your blog last year that I learned about the 365 project. It was a great experience and I’m definitely back for 2010. Maybe I’ll even make the full 365, but if not, it is still worth every shot!

  • But Cog, something in me is really starting to resent Flickr. I have 4 years of pro account there, and every year they send me a bill in January, after all the Christmas and new year spending, and every year I grown and wish I was more savvey at keeping free Flickr, like adding your photos to groups to get around the monthly limitations..

    And now, I’m finding PicasaWeb easier to use, and I want to drag down all my Flickr photos and make a backup there. But Flickr doesn’t give me an option to download what is mine – paid for and all! So now I’m dragging my arse through a variety of crappy 3rd party downloaders and so far non of them are working..

    The community in Flickr is great. Like all the social media services Youtube, Twitter and Flickr are all pretty crappy – but the community make up for it.. I just wish we could get both. Good software, good services and good community.

    If flickr facilitated an easy month by month download zip, I’d be happy and would probably feel more comfortable about paying my annual pro fee…

  • D'Arcy Norman

    Leigh, it’s not safe/sane to treat any third party service as the primary source, or primary backup, for your photos (if they mean anything to you). Flickr could implode tonight, and I wouldn’t lose any photos. Same with MobileMe/.Mac or any of the other places I post stuff. Everything (EVERYTHING) that I care about exists first and foremost in my own photo library, on my own computer, with my own backups (as redundant as possible). Trusting anyone else with anything you really care about is likely to cause pain and/or friction and/or unnecessary expense.

    Flickr (and Google Picasa Albums, and SmugMug, and any other third party service) is only safely treated as an expendable sharing service, rather than anything more important or permanent. One day, it will crumble. It’s not going to take any photos I care about down with it.

    With that said, I have had to resort to Flickr once in an emergency, when I accidentally nuked an Aperture project before an automated backup could be run. IIRC, I used Flickr Backup (now Flickr Edit) to do the job, and it worked great).

  • Alan Levine

    I hear your pain for lack of a download, and cant really speak for flickr– I’d imagine your photos are spread all over a farm of servers, not sitting in a folder with your name on it; but that probably does not help you.

    For me, 25 clams a year is worth unlimited storage, and yeah, you might say Picassa gives that for free. What I have been doing this year, in switching to Aperture for management of my photos, is making sure that I maintain my own archive, not relying solely on the external web sites (this is ignoring the 4 previous years of photos sitting on a pile of CDs in a box in my closet).

    A few times over my flickr time I ordered the backup on DVD, yeah it costs again, but I have a full archive sitting there. I never tried the downloaders and can only manage the horror of trying to do ’em by hand.

    We have different outlooks- photography for me is a serious hobby I pour a fair amount of time and money into, so paying for the service is not a big deal. I can understand wanting more from a free service, but there is always a cost of some sorts somewhere.

    I hope you find a way to get your archives out of flickr.

  • DVD’s a good idea. I think I’ll do that. We’ve printed a few books out of Flickr. Pricey, but makes a nice book too cheer up with from time to time. In the time I’ve had a Flickr account, I’ve killed 3 hard drives. I find my own computers to be the most unreliable thing in all this. Also, the past 2 years, almost all my uploads are direct from mobile phone. I know its unwise, but its just a reality for me. I try to pretty “buddhist” about it all. The rel photos I care about are in my head, printed, on my blog, on flickr and now picasa web..

    Anyway, I liked the 365 and Mike’s testimony. Thinking to join in, but load to Picasa ;)

  • Learning Aloud - A commitment to 365 days and at least 365 pictures

    […] must be some interesting educational versions (e.g., Middle School Matrix, CogDogBlog). Perhaps a photograph from each school day. Seems like this is a little different than a […]

  • Great site, exactly what I was looking for, I can’t get your RSS feed to work right in google chrome though, is it on my end?

  • Alan Levine aka CogDog

    Yes, spammer, there *is* certainly something up your end. I suggest inserting it farther.

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