This blog post won’t change your life.

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When we first moved here, to the country, I was mesmerised with the sunsets. Back in Bondi, we lived in an apartment and we were lucky to capture any glimpse of the sun going down, due to living in a concrete jungle, surrounded by high rises. We had beach views though. By which I mean if you stuck your head out of the dining room window and looked right you could see a corner of Bronte Beach, and if you went out on the balcony and stood on the furthest corner you could see the waters of Bondi.

The sunsets here are magical. We bought our house when the property market was at an all time low, and where we live is a real gem. We are perched on top of a hill, with views of greenery as far as the eye can see. After a while all the trees start to look like broccoli. At the end of the day the sky changes from beautiful pinks, to vibrant oranges, and then to an inky dark as the day is finally over. When we first moved here I looked forward to the sunsets. Even through winter I’d find a spot out the front just to watch nature do it’s thing.

If we invited people over to dinner, we always made sure they were arriving before five-thirty, just in time to see the sun setting. “You told them to make sure they’re on time, right,” I’d stress to Hubby, “We don’t want them to miss out.”

Time passed though, and if you’ve seen one sunset, you’ve seen them all I guess, and I stopped getting so excited about them. Sometimes I didn’t even notice the vast array of broccoli before me. I just noticed everything I had to do in front of it, like the dirty windows, and floors, and all the laundry I had to fold.

After having Luella, there was a spot in the lounge room I liked to sit and feed her in the afternoons {or in those early days pretty much all day}. As the sun came down and snuck into our house, it became so bright it was impossible to sit there, so I’d retreat to the comfort of my bedroom and finish feeding her there. It started to annoy me, “Those sunsets are so frustrating, we need to buy a blind or something,” I huffed and puffed.

So we got a big outdoor blind to stop the sun coming in, and I was happy again.

It was only the other day that I realised, as I put the big blind down to stop my view of the sun, that something I loved so dearly was now something that I hadn’t enjoyed in so long. I hadn’t stopped to revel in nature’s beauty, or to watch the pinks and oranges appear before me. When visitors came to visit I stopped caring what time they were due to arrive {more concerned with how visitor-ready the house was} and we no longer showed off the magic.

This happens a lot in life, the everyday, the busy-ness, it stops us from seeing the small things.

This blog post won’t change your life. But this next bit might…

You know when you’ve been looking at something for so long, or doing something so regularly, that you forget what it felt like to see or do that thing for the first time? Kinda like falling in love, only on a smaller scale. The excitement you get, the inspiration you find, the beauty you discover? Deep, I know.

This is what taking a photo every day does. It allows you to find that magic in life, particularly when you’ve lost it. You see the world differently. And while I forgot about my sunsets for a while there, I found other things a bit magical. Sometimes it’s as silly as the way the local car park has perfect red and white stripes painted on the poles, or the sweetness of chubby little baby toes. It makes you see the small things, because they really are the big things.

I have people email me all the time to tell me how doing my photo a day challenges has changed their lives. I read their words and I almost can’t believe that I played any part in it, because the part I’ve played is so minuscule. I wrote a list, they were the ones who took their camera out each day and took photos, changing their life one photo at a time. I wanted them to share with you how it’s made a difference, because it’s hard to believe a daily habit can make such changes… but it does.

“I’m a college student who’s been struggling with depression for the past couple of years, and ever since I started FMS’s photo-a-day challenge, I’ve been feeling less down, and more excited to get up and look for photo opportunities throughout the day. It’s made me… happy.” Hannah

“I see the world through different eyes and the beauty in everyday moments and items. And it lets me take time in my day for a little creative outlet just for me.” Kristin

It’s changed my life COMPLETELY. After having a daughter in early Jan 2013, I really needed something to do for myself that was creative, got my mind working and to get me out of the baby funk. My photography has improved out of sight from what it was when I started. I have even started my own photography business as a result and am overwhelmed already with the response to my business. It has given me back my ‘happy’. Janet

“I never go anywhere without my camera now. I now have goals for the future, which I did not dream about 6 months ago. Photo a day has me looking at the world around me and seeing beauty everywhere. Never would I have thought a lizard or a door could be so beautiful.” Mary

“Photo-A-Day has given me a little bit of me time every day when im just used to making time for my kids and partner and the rest of the world. Its the one thing I do just for me each day and I love that I get that now!” Tessa

“My husband passed away 5 months ago, and he loved taking great photos. He was very good at capturing the moment. A good friend was doing Photo a Day, and [I started] early November. It has given me something little in my day to focus on, instead of the constant sadness that’s always in my heart. Quite often I look at the prompts, and think ‘how am I ever going to capture that’, specially the ones that brings up my grief and loneliness. But then I think of my Paul, and I do it for us. He would be proud of me. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Jo

“Taking a photo a day, and being part of this world wide group of people has added a dimension to my life, that I didn’t realise was missing. I’ve travelled overseas, and met many people, but with PAD, I’m meeting people in their homes. It’s just wonderful!” Terry

There are so many beautiful stories of how photo-a-day has changed lives. You can read more here in the Facebook group {I suggest joining too!}.

I know you’ve probably got a gazillion things on your to-do list for 2014, but put this at the top; Take a photo a day. You don’t have to do it for a whole year, or even a whole month. Start with a week. Take a photo, and see how it changes the way you see the world. You can find the list and details for how to play here.

I hope it changes your life, for the better.
xx

  • davine

    Such beautiful comments. Chantelle from such a small start you have made such a huge difference to people’s lives.

  • Hannah

    Thanks for using my quote, Chantelle. I truly do love your blog and the photo-a-day extravaganza. It’s helped me in more ways than you know! Excited for 2014! <3

  • Annette Hill

    Oh wow – amazing stuff! Jo’s comment moved me deeply xxx

  • Jess

    You will never know how much the Photo-A-Day has changed me. I may miss days at a time and have to catch up in bulk but I love love love the community I am part of that all share this similar interest. Your blog, your photos, your passions are making so many people happy x

  • BocaFrau

    Beautiful! I never seem to make it through a while month but I always love starting fresh each month and finding inspiration. Here’s to 2014 and finishing at least one month!!! :)

  • http://www.woogsworld.com/ Mrs Woog

    You are bloody amazing my friend. Take some credit for it xx

  • Sharbees

    I’m shedding some tears.
    So simple, but so beautiful.
    With the view circulating that we only FB or Insta our ‘perfections’ and ‘show life’ – I call bullshit.
    Seeing beauty in mundane, everyday life is a fantastic, uplifting thing – and available to anyone willing to open their eyes/heart.
    I have a very modest, low key lifestyle – but love snapping a pic a day in that ‘commonness’.
    Thank you for fmsphotoaday
    Shar xxx

  • http://www.kympiez.blogspot.com/ Kymmie

    This is so true. I’ve forgotten Instagram for a little while, but have decided to do it again in 2014. Thanks for the inspiration to so many! The part you played was awesome! X

  • Michelle @ Jarrah Jungle

    So true we take things for granted a lot now that we are in a modern world, we want it all and then we have it so much we forget why we wanted it in the first place. I’m sure you’ll be watching many sunsets this Summer :)

  • Lisalea

    The photo a day challenge is fantastic. It helps people re-connect in LIFE. It makes you live in the moment which is what all the self help books tell you to do to find simple happiness. I think that’s why some people got a bit pissed off when certain people used an image instead of actually taking a photo on that actual day depicting the prompt. That’s the fun of the challenge, going and searching for the photo , thinking about it not just pulling out an old photo from the archives somewhere. I love how it has reached people from all corners of the globe Chantelle. I don’t think anything like this has been done before. To achieve this amount of popularity is beyond amazing.

  • Samantha Hayden

    I love taking part, even when my photos are not that great, it gives me something to look forward to, to do something for myself instead of pleasing others all the time. I love the fact that I tell my family what that days prompt is and they will come up with something for me to take a picture of. I don’t get out much as work has a habit of getting in the way, and I sometimes resort to archive pics, but I still enjoy the community feel and taking part!Thank you Chantelle for starting all this.

  • Claudia Piccinini

    I love photo-a-day I’ve started since may 2013 and it’s a part of my day life. It’s more than “taking one photo in a day”, it’s a daily date with yourself and your little magic world. Your list is fantastic and is a challange to my ispiration. It’s great to see how other people see the daily theme, it’s great to be a part of a world wide group of people, it’s also a challenge for me because english isn’t my mother tongue and I learn new words too!! Happy to be a part of this big group! Thank you Chantelle and thank to your group of work. Claudia

  • http://www.townmousecountrymouse1.blogspot.com.au/ Kylie

    Photo A Day has certainly made me appreciate the simple things once again. Bust living often takes over as you say in your post. I really enjoy trying to find that one shot to post (I will admit it doesn’t happen EVERY day unfortunately) but I am finding that I take loads of pics now of our kids and everything around me. And when no camera in sight I have found myself looking at something and taking a mental picture. It makes me think about whats in front of me and appreciate the beauty in everything.Not to mention my computer is filled with a zillion photos now…. Thks Chantelle for starting this gig….love it!!!!!! Happy New Year!!!!

  • Dianne

    I found your blog whilst surfing the net yesterday and am amazed I have never found it before. It is brilliant. I would love to join your photo a day challenge even tho it is so late. I never stick to anything and love the no rules fun, but observe life of your challenge and figured if it is OK that I do 3 photos a day to catch u to see if I can stick to this.