1 pic a day, 2013 challenge: day 100

Since I arrived in Canada in the fall, I have taken more photos than ever before. When I saw on Facebook that Gráinne Conole, Ricardo Torres Kompen and Jane Challinor had launched a 1 pic a day, 2013 group on Flickr, I decided to join the challenge. Today is already day 100 and I thought I ought to reflect upon my experience so far.

I quickly discovered that it was a real challenge to post a new photo taken on the day and really struggled to start with. I even had to resort to desperate measures at times,for instance taking a shot of the mosquito net on my bedroom window, not once but twice – with and without the flash. Within weeks it has however very much become an habit. Personal productivity blogger Leo Babauta once stated the obvious when he wrote that “The hardest thing for most people, when it comes to building habits, is sticking to it long enough for it to become ingrained”. 100 days on, this habit of taking my daily photo seems to have become quite ingrained. It is however not always easy for so much. In the last week, I was not on a couple of occasions without feeling that I just could not be bothered going out again to take a photo, but felt it was such a shame to give up so close to the hundredth day and nevertheless went out for a walk to shoot something. I incidentally now have an emergency contingency plan in my mind, which involves a mental list of items I could take at home.

When it comes to photography I am the ultimate neophyte and have no idea about anything. Nearly two years ago, an excellent friend of mine had done a lot of background research to choose a DSLR camera and identified a short-list of two and I went along with her to look at them in a Camera shop. This led me to succumb to temptation and we both ended up buying the same Canon EOS 550D (a model known as Canon EOS Rebel T2i in North America). Ever since, I have immensely enjoyed using it, but in a quite typical fashion, I had not yet even started reading the manual. I thought for a while about taking lessons or buying a book to learn the fundamentals, but I still have not done anything about it.

Doing the 365 challenge has been a real revelation for me. I started using my iPhone at the begining, and then I started thinking that it would be better to use my camera, as there was no point in having brought it and not use it. Increasingly the challenge has become for me to actually take my Canon camera out every day. This has become in a sense a challenge within the challenge. It is a bit awkward sometimes to carry it along all day, but it has now become an habit.

One of the things I enjoy most in the challenge is the dynamics of the group. I knew that Flickr could function as a social network, but had merely used it until now simply to post photos. It has become an habit to follow what other members of the group were posting, favorite pictures I like and write comments. It is really great to interact with such a group of very nice and friendly people. The new Flickr iPhone app. makes it much easier to follow the group as it pushes notifications and it is easy to check on the new photos posted to the group.

Here are a few among my favourites photos from my 1 pic a day, 2013 set on Flickr.

which I posted to the group pool:

Wolfe Island Ferry 20/365
Wolfe Island Ferry

Débâcle 30/365
Débâcle 30/365

Ice lace (72/365)
Ice lace (72/365)

Quintessentially Canadian (76/365)
Quintessentially Canadian (76/365)

Lac d'huile au matin : le calme après la tempête (98/365)
Lac d’huile au matin : le calme après la tempête (98/365)

One of the frustrating aspects of such a challenge is that there are days when you take more than one interesting pictures and choosing a photo for the day is difficult. Two of my favourite photos among those I took during this period have not been selected to be posted as photo of the day at the time:

Immensité glacée du lac Ontario
Immensité glacée du lac Ontario

Ice flowers - Fleurs de glace
Ice flowers – Fleurs de glace

I really, really enjoy it and it is incredible how doing something every single day really forces you to practice. In any case, one thing is sure as the result of this challenge, I enjoy photography more and more. For the time being I only use three settings, “flash off”, “close up”, and “landscape”. Even if I like to keep things simple, I now feel more and more the need to understand the technical side of things. What do you think would be the best way to go about it?

Dialogics

“‘People who do not observe, cannot converse.’This wisdom-nugget from an English barrister evokes the essence of ‘dialogics’. This technical word names attention and responsiveness to other people. The barrister’s bon mot particularly calls attention to the listener’s share in a discussion. Usually, when we speak about communication skills, we focus on how to make a clear presentation, to present what we think or feel. Skills are indeed required to do so, but these are declarative in character. Listening well requires a different set of skills, those of closely attending to and interpreting what others say before responding, making sense of their gestures and silences as well as declarations. Though we may have to hold ourselves back to observe well, the resulting conversation will become a richer exchange for it, more cooperative in character, more dialogic.”

Richard Sennett’s Together: The Rituals, Pleasures and Politics of Co-operation:

“Social media is becoming the ‘universal university'”

“In many respects, social media is becoming the “universal university” that allows all of us to learn from each other through comments, feedback and spirited dialogues, even when we may not agree.” David K. Williams and Mary Michelle Scott

David K. Williams and Mary Michelle Scott, New Research on Why CEOs Should Use Social Media, HBR Blog Network, 27 July 2012.

via Jon Husband (@jonhusband) on Twitter.

Update: Mind Mapping & Concept Mapping for Researchers, MediaCityUK, 24 July 2012

The time and place for my presentation on Mind Mapping & Concept Mapping for Researchers at the College of Arts and Social Sciences First Summer School at the University of Salford Manchester, have now been announced.

The session will take place on 24 July from 11:00 to 12:00 at Media City, 2nd Floor, Lecture Theatre 236


View Larger Map

How to get there

The aim of this presentation will be to briefly introduce participants to the principles and practice of the mapping of ideas and concepts. By the end of this session participants will have developed a basic awareness of Mind Mapping and Concept Mapping and their pertinence in research contexts.

This session will:

  • Introduce participants to the principles of both Mind Mapping and Concept Mapping
  • Show how researchers can fruitfully use either, or both, a Mind Map & a Concept Map as a thinking space, both individually and collaboratively.
  • Present a number of examples of maps and templates used in a research context.

Getting Things Done for Researchers workshop, MediaCityUK, 27 July 2012

The time and place for my presentation on Getting Things Done for Researchers at the College of Arts and Social Sciences First Summer School at the University of Salford Manchester, have now been announced.

The session will take place on 27 July from 11:00 to 12:00 at Media City, 2nd Floor, Lecture Theatre 236


View Larger Map

How to get there

The aims of this session is to introduce participants to the Getting Things Done method developed by Davis Allen, which unlike traditional time management methods, focuses on managing workflows rather than time (1).

This session will introduce the principles of the Getting Things Done methodology. It will focuses particularly on :

  • the five phases of mastering one’s own workflow seamlessly (Collect, Process, Organise, Review and Do)
  • and the 6 levels approach to setting priorities (current actions, current projects, areas of responsibility and focus, short, middle and long term goals and visions)

Would you be interested in running Would you be interested in running a presentation or a workshop on Getting Things Done for Researchers in your own institution in the future, please do not hesitate to get in touch. To find more about the Getting Things Done for Researchers workshop, or to check pricing and availability, please contact me by email or on Skype where my address is pascalvenier.

(1) David Allen, Getting Things Done: How to Achieve Stress-free Productivity (London: Piatkus Books, 2002). ISBN 978-0749922641.

Disclaimer: GTD® and Getting Things Done® are registered trademarks belonging to the David Allen Company. Pascal Venier is not affiliated with them.

Mind Mapping & Concept Mapping for Researchers, MediaCity, 24 July 2012

I shall be giving a presentation on Mind Mapping & Concept Mapping for Researchers at the College of Arts and Social Sciences First Summer School at the University of Salford which takes place in Media City in Salford, on 23-27 July. The session will take place on 24 July from 11:00 to 12:00 at Media City, 2nd Floor, Lecture Theatre 236

The aim of this presentation will be to briefly introduce participants to the principles and practice of the mapping of ideas and concepts. By the end of this session participants will have developed a basic awareness of Mind Mapping and Concept Mapping and their pertinence in research contexts.

This session will:

  • Introduce participants to the principles of both Mind Mapping and Concept Mapping
  • Show how researchers can fruitfully use either, or both, a Mind Map & a Concept Map as a thinking space, either individually or collaboratively.
  • Present a number of examples of maps and templates used in a research context.