One Tree, One Camera, One Year


At the end of 2008, I decided to embark on a year long project. I picked up a Rollei Retro 400 disposable camera for a good price at a local shop and chose a simple scene near my office that I would shoot every 15 days for a full year.

Credits: dirklancer

July 4, 2009

At the end of 2008, I decided to embark on a year long project. I picked up a Rollei Retro 400 disposable camera for a good price at a local shop and chose a simple scene near my office that I would shoot every 15 days for a full year.
I labeled the back of the camera package with a bit of reference information so that I could stand in the same spot each time, and also a list of dates to take the picture so that I could cross them off as the year progressed.

Credits: dirklancer

The project “manual”

I began on January 5th – for no particular reason – and exposed the film gradually until the end of the year.

Credits: dirklancer

January 5, 2009

The scene is an old tree in front of the university I attended (I now work just across the street from the campus, so it was a convenient choice). You’ll notice the fresh and untrodden snow in the January shots. (It snowed over the Christmas break, and the snow was not yet trampled by students)

In February the snow shows signs of heavy foot traffic.

Credits: dirklancer

February 4, 2009

In late March and early April we experienced a pleasant and substantial increase in temperature – the April 5th image captures what is left of the melting snow.

Credits: dirklancer

April 5, 2009

In early May, the buds are just beginning to show on the tree.

Credits: dirklancer

May 5, 2009

By late June the leaves are in full force and the tree is capable of casting a broad shadow.

Credits: dirklancer

June 19, 2009

In August, you can see hints of preparations for the return of students in the fall – the sidewalk behind the tree is being repaired.

Credits: dirklancer

August 3, 2009

In September you get the sense that shadows are getting longer.

Credits: dirklancer

September 2, 2009

Strong winds in late October and early November made quick work of the tree’s leaves.

Credits: dirklancer

November 16, 2009

And by the end of December we had a peaceful blanket of snow covering everything once again…

Credits: dirklancer

December 16, 2009

You can see the whole gallery here:

Every 15 days for a year.

I few things that I learned for next time:

  • I had never used this camera before, so I didn’t realize until the end that I had a habit of putting my fingers in to the edge of the composition.
  • It would have been better to compose a scene that had more potential for visible changes with the seasons.
  • Black and white film didn’t reveal the range of colour in the seasons here.
  • I should have asked someone else to take a picture on July 19th for me while I was on vacation a few thousand kilometres away from home.
  • My scanner is not so handy with black and white; I need to work on this some more.
  • Some shots were severely underexposed (I waited until it was too dark)
  • If I did it again, I would be precise with the time of day to really show the difference in daylight throughout the year (it probably would have also been a better choice to do this on the same day of the week, to make it easier for me to remember to take the picture. Sometimes by the time I remembered, the sun was already going down.)

The part of this project that had the greatest impact on me was the waiting. I really wanted to see what kind of shots this camera would do, but I had forced myself to wait the whole year. As I waited, I began to consider the impact of waiting on our lives and the way that it is a mundane, yet powerful, contributor to our perception of so many things. In some ways, we are always waiting for things to get bigger and better, but in nature, we are waiting for a cycle that simply repeats itself over and over again.

The contemplations that arose from this little project grew up to become a much bigger project called “the Art of Waiting”. I encourage you to visit the project's site and leave me a comment!

What are you waiting for?

written by dirklancer on 2010-02-20 in #news


  1. mephisto19
    mephisto19 ·

    great project and you seem to be veeeeery patient ;)

  2. vicuna
    vicuna ·

    Great project and interesting results! I now understand where the roots of the waiting for project are ;))! Great job Mr Project! :))

  3. paramir
    paramir ·

    great project, great idea! taking on a year-long project is very respectable! :)

  4. strangelilgirl
    strangelilgirl ·

    you are becoming quite the project man! I'm digging it

  5. pfudal
    pfudal ·

    Nice idea ! Bravo !

  6. disdis
    disdis ·


  7. mattcharnock
    mattcharnock ·

    nice my friend very nice!

  8. azurblue
    azurblue ·

    Smart idea ! I see that you practised last year for the waiting project, lol ! Bravo !

  9. dotdotdot
    dotdotdot ·

    Was thinking of doing the same thing.. but Singapore is in the topical region! No 4 seasons here! I think all the photos will look more or less the same for me.. Haha.. Great project btw,, (:

  10. panelomo
    panelomo ·

    wow! -

  11. abcdefuck
    abcdefuck ·

    bravo bravo!!! :)

  12. nural
    nural ·

    really great project!!! good idea and I really like the shots as well

  13. -a-l-b-e-r-t-o-
    -a-l-b-e-r-t-o- ·

    yes, it's the art of waiting

  14. lomo-art
    lomo-art ·

    super nice project.
    A good idea!

  15. ilovemydiana
    ilovemydiana ·

    i love doing things like this :o)

  16. stouf
    stouf ·

    What a visual trip in time !!! This is amazing... Congrats buddy !

  17. kboboland
    kboboland ·

    it looks so cool just constantly clicking the Next Photo button really fast, you can watch the leaves grow!

  18. satomi
    satomi ·

    wow. fantastic idea! and yeah, you must be really patient!

  19. venusattack
    venusattack ·

    i like ur project alot!! Keep going!

  20. eva_eva
    eva_eva ·

    very inspiring! :) u are so patience :)

  21. mochilis
    mochilis ·

    Wow! Nice pics and good idea.

  22. em_hoefler
    em_hoefler ·

    I love this idea! very cool!

  23. moochie_lomo
    moochie_lomo ·

    Great idea! It doesn't snow where I live so I'd have to use color to better show seasonal changes. What a great inspiration! Thanks!!

  24. superlighter
    superlighter ·

    Patience is a great virtue! great project!

  25. flashback
    flashback ·

    you should make a small time lapse movie with the photos.

  26. modernyoung
    modernyoung ·

    amazing project! *o*

  27. dirklancer
    dirklancer ·

    Thanks for the encouragement everyone! :)
    It really wasn't such a big deal - I just snapped a shot every once in a while... ;)
    What are you waiting for? get shooting!

  28. susielomovitz
    susielomovitz ·

    wow wow wow! beautiful!

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