Why a blog category called Challenges?


The title came from the weekly photographic challenges that turn up on the internet.  It seemed a great opportunity to finally master, or at least attempt to master, the technical gizmos on the digital SLR camera that was languishing in the cupboard.

But there hasn’t been a post in this category since August.  Is the Challenge running out of steam?

At the end of 2013, I transferred to the new 2014 WordPress theme.  This was an opportunity to re-evaluate the structure and direction of my blog.  In this post, I’m looking at the Challenges category and asking why did it start, how does it fit and where is it heading?

Some categories get more action than others.  This was one of them, but only because I placed links on a very popular website.  One day, I placed the link twice (there was no evidence that the first attempt worked) and nearly doubled the number of clicks on my blog.  Opps.

What is a blogging category?

Within a blog, each post can be allocated to a category.   A category has the potential to become a story.  It is created for a reason; it evolves; it has high points and lows.  It might eventually end.

What happened

I set myself one rule.  The photographic challenge had to be completed in an hour (or so) because there were other things I needed/wanted to do with my weekends.

Some of the results were personally encouraging.  Some were disappointing, but I posted them anyway.  There was always some learning involved and I was happy to share.

After succumbing to the marketing ploys of DPS, I now own a fixed 50mm lens.  Succumbing further, I now also own a tripod.  Love the results.  Images are sharper.

My favourite challenge

Spirit was fun to create, and the result still gives me shivers.

Spirit of Photography
Spirit of Photography

Check out the post for details on why this photo is called “Spirit of Photography” and how the setup worked.

Does this category fit with my blog theme?

The overall blog theme is exploring.  Exploring used to be a real challenge back in the days before GPS and portable refrigeration.

Learning how to use a digital camera isn’t in the same league.  However, forcing ourselves to focus on one thing through to completion is a challenge in this world of multi-faceted distractions.  This is my first justification for keeping this category.  The Challenges category encourages continual focus on improving my photographic skills.

My second justification is linked to creativity’s role at the core of the learning process.  When learning, we deploy some of creativity’s key features – openness, active observation, willingness to be surprised.  Challenging ourselves to learn in one area promotes creativity in other areas.  Explorers of old weren’t just problem solvers; they were creative problem solvers.

The category fits.  It will stay.

Where am I heading?

There is still much to learn about my camera, about photography and about its history.  And I really enjoyed that hour (or two).  The category just needs revitalising.

New rule:  No deadline.  The challenge is also to finish despite the distractions.

New source:  I got bored with DPS’s marketing ploys, and noticed that the topics started to repeat, and was frustrated with the mechanics of the DPS site.  So, the newsagent to the rescue (again!).  Five magazines claiming to improve my skills now sit on my desk.

New selection methodology:  With eyes tightly shut, I randomly select an article from a magazine that I randomly selected from the pile, with eyes tightly shut.

First in this new series of Challenges:  “Get perfect panoramas“.

The horizon beckons.

Link for the Challenges’ archive 

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