Project 366

Project 365 is a challenge where you kickstart your journey as a photographer by committing to taking one photo a day for one year. Now, I am not a photographer (yet) so Project 365 does not seem to apply to me, or does it? I recently came across the Disperser Tracks blog where a Project 365 is remixed as a photography / blog / narrative challenge. In the words of Disperser Tracks: Three-hundred-and-thirteen posts, each with a photo . . . and a joke and an original doodle. On a side note, Disperser Tracks did a Project 313 (instead of 365) because he/she likes to “go against the tide” and the number 313 is, mathematically speaking, prettier (something I can relate to in my day to day job). In other words, feel free to take the idea behind Project 365 and turn it into anything your want.

So here is my version of Project 365. First of all, next year (2020) is a leap year, which means that if I start today (March 29, 2019) and do this project for one year, that year will be 366 days long. So, that means I will be doing Project 366. Secondly, rather than committing to take one picture a day, I am committing to posting one picture with a story every day. This picture will not necessarily have been shot on the same day, but it would be taken by me (or by a member in my family) and it will be accompanied by a short narration. To me Project 365…, I mean Project 366, is not so much about taking pictures as it is about telling stories. The stories will be told through pictures and through the written word. Sort of like Hinterlands Who’s Who, except blogging-style.

Do not, however, expect dazzling images or profound stories of all manners of charismatic critters on a daily basis. While all the posts will be on the topic of natural history, much of it will likely be rather mundane stuff. Stuff that we might see on a daily basis, but not notice. Or as I often say, when you are looking for birds, you find all the other things as well, things that you have seen a million times but never noticed. Stuff like this…

Yes, that’s a very large turd found at Elk Island National Park. Apologies for not including a familiar object for scale but, trust me, it was big, really big. The turd is remarkable in more ways that just because of its monumental size. It is dung from a Plains Bison. Bison dung provides a fascinating story of nutrient cycling and providing a home to an entire ecosystems of micro-organisms and insects. Bison dung has also served mankind in the form of fuel for cooking and warmth. Today, there are more bison at Elk Island National Park than existed in the the whole of North America in 1880. The Wood Bison (which also lives in Elk Island National Park) is the largest land mammal in North America, followed closely by their relative the Plains Bison. Hence, the huge turd!

The ultimate purpose of my Project 366 is to use it as an excuse to head out into nature more often, to practice my observation skills, id’ing skills and being mindful and present in the moment. A more mundane reason for embarking on this project is to kickstart my photography and blogging skills.

Here is the plan. Project 366 entries will be posted at midnight, starting tonight. Posts will include a picture and a short story relating to the picture. That’s it! Sounds easy enough. Wish me luck and make sure you are up at midnight for the next year to be the first one to see the day’s entry. I better go and snap some pictures now.

Disclaimer (aka as the fine print): I reserve the right to modify the rules as I go along to make this project more personally meaningful. There may be various glitches and mishaps along the way due to technical shortcomings. I will embrace every “failure” as a learning opportunity and learn from my mistakes and from the haphazard limitations that modern technology sometimes throws our way. In other words, I am building this plane blog as I am flying writing it. I know, this is a terrible analogy when applied to important stuff that actually matters, but since this blog is not mission critical and no humans or animals will get hurt in the process, the analogy sort of works here.

May the curiosity be with you. This is from “The Birds are Calling” blog (www.thebirdsarecalling). Copyright Mario Pineda.

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