|Original Image by Library Girl|
As I shared a few weeks ago, I took the first step towards this goal by creating my first ever Flickr space. (See the link to "my photos" above). On one hand, it seems strange that it's taken me so long to get on the Flickr bandwagon - after all, I've used Flickr for years, but only as an image source, not as a space to share my own photos.
This is partly because, I've never considered myself much of a photographer. Photography is an art I greatly admire, but I've never been very good at it. Then, two years ago, I decided to tackle a 365 project - that is, I decided I'd take and post a photo every day for a year. Again, I didn't consider myself much of a photographer, but I'd seen members of my PLN post their daily photos and, frankly, I just wanted to be a part of it. Plus, I thought it might be a fun way to capture memories - a way to keep a daily journal, of sorts, but without tying myself down to more writing. In short, I did it on a whim.
Now, starting my 3rd year of taking and posting a photo a day, it's become a part of my routine that I treasure.
Still, as 2012 drew to a close, and the prospect of committing myself to another year of daily amateur photography loomed ahead, I toyed with stopping. After all, there are days that I just don't want to take a picture. Sometimes I'm too tired, sometimes too busy, and sometimes a day comes along that I just really, really don't want to remember. Plus, if I do get behind (which happens a lot) I feel guilty publishing 15 photos on a single day - it seems a little like cheating. So, I thought about calling it quits. But then I got some much needed feedback from friends and strangers looking to start their own 365day photo challenge, and I knew that I couldn't give it up and that, deep down, I didn't really want to.
The bottom line is, I'm really busy. I travel a lot. And when I am home, I run around like a maniac most of the time. And, if I'm really, really honest, then I have to admit that way more than 8 hours of my day are devoted to work, so... forcing myself to stop, take a walk, look at the world and find something interesting to point my camera at is a GOOD thing. It provides me with a little balance - which I REALLY need. And I bet I am not the only one.
Anyway, this year, I've added the additional challenge of taking images that I think might make good presentation slides and then compiling them in my "Picture This: Library Girl Images to Use and Share" photo set. The one above is my latest addition. I've also included the same image, but without the quote, so you can add your own words of inspiration. One note: all the images in this set are licensed under Creative Commons, so if you want to use them, go crazy! (Just remember, the license is for non-commercial use and requires attribution, so no cheating!)
Having said that, I've always thought that photography and photo editing were activities that were great for kids: taking photos is fun and editing them taps into their creativity! But, now, more than ever, there's a case to be made that doing so also addresses specific learning objectives. For example, check out this 8th grade Common Core State Standard.
Note: This is a READING standard not a technology standard. Now, say what you want about the Common Core, but this standard sets a high bar. Instead of just asking kids to present information, it asks them to communicate through their presentations - and to select the best mediums with which to do that. The difference may be subtle, but it's a big one. What's more, it requires a skill that many adults have yet to master. (Just think about all those "death by powerpoint" presentations you've had to sit through!) Plus, this standards affords us new ways to assess whether or not kids possess a conceptual understanding of abstract topics. For example, it's one thing for kids to be able to recite a definition of a literary device, like mood, from memory, or to pick out that definition from a set of four choices, but it's quite another for them to edit a creative work in order to communicate different examples of mood - and then explain how the mood affects the consumer of the work. In addition, what better place than the library, with its wealth of resources, (both digital and print), for this type of instruction to take place? Indeed, this is a great way for us to support our English/Language Arts teachers by providing kids with opportunities to sharpen these skills through the creation of multimedia projects. Additionally, after school clubs that use photo editing are a way to sneak learning objectives in to experiences that, for kids, seem to have more "real life" applications.
Plus, there's just so many neat photo editing tools out there that even the most novice photographer can create a product to be proud of. Shoot! If *I* can do it, anybody can!
So... I thought I'd end this post by listing some of my favorite photo editing and sharing tools. These are the apps I use most - and, yes, I'm focusing on mobile apps because all of the photos I share are taken with my iPhone 4. I don't have a fancy camera, and although I've thought about buying one, I probably wouldn't know how to use it! However, if you're looking for web tools for photo editing, I suggest you check out my pal Gwyneth Jones' posts about Pic Monkey - the web based photo editing service that stole her heart after Picnik went bye bye. Gwyneth says Pic Monkey is GREAT and when Gwyeth talks, I listen! :)
And now onto the apps...
|FX Photo Studio|
FX Photo Studio is the first photo editing app that I ever fell in love with. In fact, I'd say a good 50% of the photos I took that first year were edited with this app, which is only available for iPhone. What I liked about it then, (and still do), is that it's super easy to use. There's well over 100 preset filters which look really cool on their own, but that you can also adjust easily. You can star filters to create a favorites list and there's many options for sharing photos. The downside, for me, was that the saved images are reduced in size and quality - not a huge amount - but as I started sharing my photos more during professional presentations, the more I needed an app that did not cut down the pixels. I still use this app from time to time and definitely recommend it for students and, really, to anyone who is just getting started. It's super easy and the results are fab.
|Insta Weather /Insta Place|
Finally, this post wouldn't be complete without mentioning the Flickr app - which is really outstanding. I am truly amazed by all its functionality.
Finally, to those who are thinking about tackling the 365 photo journey, I say go for it. My only words of advice are a) give yourself permission to play catch-up when you get behind (because, trust me, you will) b) have fun! There are no rules except the ones you make up - so don't make any up, and c) consider licensing your photos using Creative Commons. If you're not a professional photographer and don't earn your living through your art, then why not share? Who knows how many people you will inspire? (AND if you are planning on helping kids create and edit their photos, by all means, talk to them about licensing their works. Teach them about Creative Commons and make yours a community of sharing where licensing and attribution are just part of the process - not something you *might* get in trouble for *if* you get caught).
Oh... and if you decide to play along, let me know! Tag me on Twitter so I can follow your journey. I'd love to know what the world looks like through your lens.