the further adventures of

Mike Pirnat

a leaf on the wind

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200/365: Challenger

200/365: Challenger

Day 200 of 365 seems like a major psychological hurdle, even though it's less than five percent over the halfway point. Probably because that first digit has rolled over, and those zeros look all nice and round.

To symbolize the challenge of keeping up the shooting and posting discipline, I went rather literal; this is a close-up of the Dodge Challenger that one of my coworkers recently bought. I guess the message is... Power through? I guess that's as good a plan as any for the next hundred days.

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7/365: One of Many

One of Many

This morning, I set up a 12-wine practice exam for Liz while she took Claire to school. I had a few minutes before she got back, so I decided to get some photography in early. I had a really, really hard time deciding which image to feature. These are the ones that Claire liked the best.

It's hard to believe I've already done seven days of the 365! One week down, 51 to go...

Darkness and Light Inner Light

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6/365: This Is How We Roll

6/365: This Is How We Roll

After weeks without our Friday AD&D fix, we finally got the group back together to continue our adventures in the Caves of Chaos. Today we followed a band of hobgoblins carrying the corpse of our fallen assassin into an omnimous, foul-smelling cave that quickly became an obviously-evil temple, started scouting around, and launched into combat with a group of some kind of malevolent acolytes and a room full of their pet zombies.

Yessir, good times.

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5/365: Like My Father Before Me

5/365: Like My Father Before Me

I don't usually post public pictures of my daughter, but she really wanted to be part of daddy's photo project, so here she is on day five.

Claire wanted to show off her new Clone Wars T-shirt tonight--not only is she becoming quite the fan of the movies, often correcting the boys in her class on the finer details of the plot and characters--but she loves, loves, loves Ahsoka. Blue eyes? Check. Lightsaber? Check. Attitude? You better believe it!

I couldn't settle on a single shot, so I punted and made a triptych out of three of my favorites.

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4/365: Parting of the Ways

4/365: Parting of the Ways

Another workday of being very busy either staring at glowing screens or taking half-mile walks and not having a lot of time for seeking out creativity. I got this from our table at lunch. While there were lots of people that would have been interesting subjects, I felt a bit awkward shooting candids in a restaurant, and inadequately equipped since I would have preferred my big, image stabilized zoom if I was going to be getting people at a distance.

I missed a great but very narrow opportunity tonight; as I left work, the opening door spooked a family of deer, who proceeded to leap majestically across the parking lot, wonderfully illuminated by the lights around the building and the lot. A DSLR with lens cap off could have gotten something good in time, but the iPhone, not so much. "You should have seen the one that got away!" Ah, well...

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3/365: Trial Balloon

3/365: Trial Balloon

Today was largely consumed by the deployment of this year's Hack Day site and its preparation for participants to begin registration, so I mostly stared at computers instead of through camera lenses. But I did get a moment to marvel at the six-foot-tall banners and custom balloons that my brilliant co-chair is unleashing on the office, and, after tying one of the balloons down, I was able to get it still enough to get a shot of it with my phone.

Clearly, managing to find enough balance to get a photo created and published is going to be the key struggle this year, as I'm already exercising several of the "practicality clauses" that I outlined yesterday.

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365: Principles

I was thinking that I should probably lay down some guiding principles for my 365 challenge so that we're all on the same page--at the very least, I'll know what parameters I've given myself. Even if no one else is holding me accountable, I'll feel better for having some structure and acknowledging some realities.

  1. Take a picture every day. This should be verifiable from the EXIF data on the selected photos. This should motivate me to bring some form of camera with me to more places and to think about what kind of image I can create with it.

  2. Post a picture every day. Taking pictures frequently is no good if they never get published, or they wait six months (like my summer vacation stuff seems to do).

  3. Be flexible about temporal boundaries. It's okay if the "picture du jour" happens to be from the night before, as long as I've already posted something for the previous day. It's always possible to get a worthy shot so late in the evening that it's not practical to post it until the next day. And you and I are just going to accept that, aren't we? A good example is day 1, where the photo was taken at almost eleven o'clock while out with friends, and the ensuing Rock Band party (which ended at roughly four in the morning) and hangover (which ended much later) prevented me from posting it immediately.

  4. Be practical about posting. I like to vacation in places that don't have internet access; I find it incredibly freeing. But with that comes an inability to upload anything until I'm back. Likewise, I know that I will have days of air travel or other wacky shenanigans that prevent posting. The promise I make to myself is that I'll catch up as quickly as possible once time and connectivity are available.

  5. Be fresh every day. Don't reuse a shot or a subject unless there's sufficient artistic merit--a radically different season or significant change from a prior shot.

  6. Accept the tools that are available. It's okay to not be chained to my DSLR every single day. Some days, I may use my phone, others my iPad. I might even use a webcam if that's what's available when I'm ready to be creative. I will rise to the challenge of what tools I have and "strike when the iron is hot."

  7. Have fun. Life is too short for this to be a burden. If it feels like work, something is wrong. It's okay to reassess what I'm doing and if it's providing the right value for my life. It's okay to downshift to a "52" (posting once a week is still more often than my average), or if absolutely necessary, to take a break or stop altogether. I give myself permission to know what's right for my life and adjust accordingly.

There we have it. A little bit of structure, a little bit of practicality. Hopefully a whole lot of fun and artistic growth over the coming year.

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2/365: Are We There Yet?

2/365: Are We There Yet?

At long last, winter weather arrived in northeast Ohio, so I took a quick couple of minutes to be creative. Both my wife and daughter agreed that this grumpy Christmas cat, soon to be removed as we de-Christmas the house, is today's official 365 shot.

I liked some of the other things I shot; here's a sample:

Stay Frosty Outpost Frozen Memories

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1/365: Lights of the New Year

1/365: Lights of the New Year

My friend and fellow shutterbug Mike Russell recently started a 365 project, the goal of which is to shoot and post a unique photograph every day for a year. I've been intrigued by the idea for some time, but following Mike's work has finally inspired me to give it a shot. I'm excited, especially about having a steady, daily dose of creative outlet, but also more than a little bit nervous about being able to keep up the pace.

So, here's One of Three Hundred Sixty-Five, Cleveland's Old Arcade on New Year's Eve, all lit up and alive with year-end festivities.

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Get on a Winning Streak in 2012

Want to build a winning streak? Already on one that you don't want to see disrupted by the holidays, or--an even lamer excuse--broken by running out of calendar?

Never fear! I've whipped up a convenient one page 2012 calendar, and I'm publishing it early to make sure you've got plenty of time to get it into place.

Not sure what this is about? No problem--check out my original post. The short version is that having a highly visible calendar that I can check gives me a daily jolt to do do what I need to do to establish better habits. I transform the game from being about putting off what I know I need to do and focus it on building the longest winning streak I can.

My advice:

  1. Keep it simple--your criteria for success on any given day should be straightforward and easy to achieve. "I flossed today."
  2. Put it somewhere visible--you should not be able to evade a daily confrontation with how you're doing. After just a few days in a row, this will be something you're excited to see.
  3. Keep a pen or marker nearby and don't let it get out of range--if you don't mark your wins, you won't have the visual reinforcement.
  4. Have lots of extra calendar available--you don't want your streak to die just because it's a new month.
  5. Don't freak out if a long streak gets broken; now you have a new high score to try to beat!

You can download my 2012 one-page calendar and start your winning streak today.

What are you waiting for?

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