30 Day Challenge: Take an instant photo (Part I)

While I was organizing my bookshelf in the last week of November, I was watching TED videos for inspiration. I came across Matt Cutts’ “Try something new for 30 days” talk.

My close friends bought me a Fujifilm Instax mini 7s last year for my birthday. They know that I love taking pictures as a hobby so they decided to buy me one. I wasn’t really able to use it often for two reasons: 1. film was expensive ($19.99 + taxes for a 2-pack of films that has 10 films each — that’s like a dollar per film — very expensive, seeing that I’m a student and I’m broke); and 2., I had no time.

I realized now that being broke and having no time are just mere excuses for me not to use the camera.

My friend Erika suggested I write about this everyday. First I said no, and then I thought about it. She has a point. And so, after day three, I decided to talk about this challenge on my website.

What I learned from this challenge:

1. Never take pictures under fluorescent light (especially a white person). I asked my friend, Erika, to be my subject for Day 3. She was nice enough to volunteer. Unfortunately, she was sitting under fluorescent light when I took the picture so I took another one. One of the rules for this challenge was to only take one photo — doesn’t matter if it’s ugly or not creative.

2. Do not be embarrassed if or when people see you taking a photo. You are in public. Do not care what anybody will think or say.

3. It’s okay to make mistakes. This is how you learn. On day 13, I looked back at all my photos and I hated all of them. They were all terrible. Some of them were dark, some of them were bright, and some of them were just terrible. And it’s okay. It’s alright to take terrible photos because I this is how I will learn. Even after the challenge, I look at all my photos and I only liked two or three of them.

4. If you see something picture-worthy, just do it. Take a picture. It was a little after 8 a.m. when I was driving on my way to my work placement when I saw the sun. It was sooo beautiful. So beautiful. I’m a nature person, so I love anything about nature. I knew I had to capture that moment. But I hesitated. I went inside and put away my things first and then went downstairs again. Unfortunately, that moment was already gone. The sky had a different colour.

5. Never hesitate. This is probably my main problem in capturing photographs. Whenever I see something interesting and picture-worthy — a building, a tree, a road, a sign, a person, a moment — I hesitate if I should take a picture or not. That’s probably the biggest mistake I ever did while doing this project. Because I hesitated, I wasn’t able to capture that “magic moment”. Because I hesitated, I forget to take a picture for the day. Because I hesitated, I missed out on opportunities. Even if I say that I won’t hesitate again, I’ll still do it. Because that’s just me. And I know that I have to change that mindset if I want to improve my photography skills.

Did I win my 30-day challenge? No. There were some days that I didn’t take pictures, and that was the only rule. I lost the challenge, but I learned some things.

I think I’m going to do another photography challenge again. Not this month though. We’ll see.

In Part II of this blog entry, I’ll post the photos that I took with my Instax camera.

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