100 Nature Walks : Looking Back at My #The100DayProject 2018

100 Nature Walks : Looking Back at My #The100DayProject 2018 | Nicole Reaves

This year was my first time attempting #The100DayProject, so other than reading and listening to the experiences of others in the past, I really didn’t know how it would affect me or what to expect. Depending on who you follow and what their project is, people tend to make it look super fun and easy, or they are in over their head and quit after 7 days because it’s too complicated or they aren’t making the time for it.

Along with keeping it insanely simple, to me, a successful 100 Day Project meant staying true to my why - because I was craving calm, quiet and more photographic proof of my surroundings. In my first post I mentioned,

“I’ve definitely gotten out of the habit of pausing to photograph everyday life around me.”

If those were my main goals - other than collecting 100 new photos - then I’m happy to report that this project was a success! The daily pause to go outside and take a photo of something around me helped immensely to ease any worry or anxiety I was feeling.

I’m taking more photos now too. Not a ton, but I’m definitely better at remembering to pull out my phone to take a few pics, especially of my kids and things I love.

100 Nature Walks : Looking Back at My #The100DayProject 2018 | Nicole Reaves

In this post, I want to share some observations - good and not so good - from my experience, as well as lots of photos of the finished wall collage.

What I loved :

  1. It got me outside. Fact : It’s way too easy to spend the day in front of the computer. I loved having something to keep me accountable and commit to one photo each day. Often on school days, I would intentionally leave the house earlier than I needed to so I could fit in a walk on my way to picking the kids up. Loved that.

  2. It got me to explore. We have a lot of hiking trails around us but I always veer toward the ones I know, the ones that are closest. Because I was looking for new scenery, I finally checked out these new parks instead of walking the same ones every week. Over the summer, it became an excuse for us to visit some new places.

  3. It was so simple. Many days I was full of excuses, or forgot, but thankfully it was very easy to catch up on those days. Simple is not overrated.

  4. The finished photo wall! I knew how large it was going to be on the wall but I couldn’t picture exactly what it would look like. (See the previous photo for a look at how it started and ended.) The changes in seasons - from a cold/icy/snowy Michigan spring to a hot and humid summer - and everything in between. The visual growth and change is so, so cool. I absolutely love how it turned out.

  5. I know where I was for each photo. And for many of them, I can almost remember how I felt being there. Happy. Unrushed. Content. While I didn’t keep track of my location for each photo, I may go back and create a log for myself, so I remember in the future.

  6. The walks were as natural as possible. In the beginning I noticed I was making sure nothing man-made appeared in my photos. Especially no buildings, concrete, things of that sort. In the end, I did end up with a windmill and a couple wooden bridges, but I think they fit in nicely.

  7. My family loved it too! My husband said I should do it for the whole year and I told him he was nuts.

100 Nature Walks : Looking Back at My #The100DayProject 2018 | Nicole Reaves

What I didn’t love :

  1. 100 days is a long time! I wouldn’t have lasted a week if this wasn’t crazy simple. In the end, I fell behind 10 days, so I just kept adding them on to the end. Like I mentioned though, it was easy to catch up.

  2. I lost my momentum about 5 weeks in. The week before and after Mother’s Day was rough and inconsistent. My interest faded and the weather (and my emotions) were weird. While it passed fairly quickly and I did finish the project, I don’t think my excitement ever really came back to the same level as when I began.

  3. It was not a project to multi-task with. During these 100 days I was also training for my first 5K, so I was outside running 4 times a week. I thought it would be easy enough to snap a picture while I was out, but it was actually the last thing on my mind because I was focused on not stopping running. Only a handful of my photos were taken on runs.

  4. Boredom and repetition. About 3/4 of the way through, it was hard looking for new places to go, new photographs to take. I really had to get creative with different angles and how I was filling the frame (zoomed in or out) to avoid having photos that looked similar to another. When I stayed on top of printing the photos regularly, that was helpful because I could easily see what I had already done. And luckily, nature has a way of constantly changing things up, so my worries faded with a new perspective.

100 Nature Walks : Looking Back at My #The100DayProject 2018 | Nicole Reaves

About the photo wall :

The completed collage is just over 30” wide by 40” high.

All of the photos were shot on my iPhone X and are unfiltered and unedited. Each photo was sized to 3” x 4” and I printed two per 4x6 sheet of photo paper. I printed them at home on my Epson photo printer and trimmed them in half after letting them dry a bit.

Before I started adhering photos to the wall, I measured out my available space (between a shelf and the door) and found the vertical midpoint. Then I eye-balled where I would want the top row to start so the bottom row wouldn’t be too close to the floor. For context, I’m 5’8” and my eye level is right between the third and fourth row.

100 Nature Walks : Looking Back at My #The100DayProject 2018 | Nicole Reaves

Using that vertical midpoint and knowing where I wanted the top row to begin, I used washi tape to adhere Day 5 to the left side of the midpoint and Day 6 to the right. (If you look closely at the photo above, you can probably see the little “midpoint” arrow I never erased.) Then I adhered the rest of the top row with tiny margins on each side to absorb any gaps or flaws along the way, and checking to make sure it was straight(ish) and level.

100 Nature Walks : Looking Back at My #The100DayProject 2018 | Nicole Reaves

From here, I added rows of 10 down the wall, all with the same tiny margin around each photo. If you get close, you can see they are far from perfect, but it helped the collage as a whole look straight, level and centered on the wall.

100 Nature Walks : Looking Back at My #The100DayProject 2018 | Nicole Reaves

I batch printed about 12-20 days at a time, so the wall slowly filled over time. I kind of wish I had photos of the progress, but oh well.

At the moment, I plan on leaving the photos on my wall for a while. My office would feel so empty without it.

Click the button below to scroll through all of the final photos :

If you missed it, you can read about how I chose this particular theme of 100 Nature Walks here.

Here is a straight-on shot of the completed collage :

100 Nature Walks : Looking Back at My #The100DayProject 2018 | Nicole Reaves

Would I do #The100DayProject again?

When I completed the project in mid-July - I would have said no - but I think that’s pretty normal. Does anyone ever say, “Oh yeah, let’s do that again!”

Now that a couple months have passed - I’d say, maybe. It’s long and intense and I think most people are just glad to be done. It wasn’t just me, right?

It absolutely got me to slow down and look at what’s around me instead of being in such a hurry to get from here to there. And for that, I’d call it a win.

So yeah, I’m sure I’ll be back to brainstorming ideas again for the next round in April.