Today’s blog post was written by Kevin Henderson of Seattle. We’re delighted that he agreed to share his January Project with our readers, and we hope that it will inspire others get on their bike more often–even if it’s only to ride around the block. All photos by the author.
Somewhere in the middle of the night this recent New Year’s Eve, I lay awake dreading the fact that soon my holiday break would be over and I’d be heading back to work, back to the old weekday routine.
I knew it was coming, and though I had tried to make my time off pass as slowly as I could, the end was drawing near. Here I was on the cusp of a new year about to return to the same old battles. Arrive at work in the dark, head home in the dark. Repeat as necessary. I told myself: “I need a project.” Something to occupy my mind for a few days that would ease the transition. Or at least pass the time until I can imagine Spring is getting closer.
Slowly the idea emerged that maybe I would try to ride my bike at least once on each day of January. I know, for some people this is every day life, but I’m no purist. Although I enjoy riding, I try not to be a slave to it, and I sure do enjoy reading a good book while lolling around on the bus. But I thought, if the objective is simply to use my bike, no minimum mileage, then it becomes a fun diversion. So long before dawn, I settled on these simple rules for January:
1: Ride somewhere each day, even if just around the block.
2: Take one photo somewhere along the route and post it.
Because of the “going back to work” part, most of these would likely be somewhere along my commute, but on weekends I figured I might even be able to get some daylight photos. I soon realized that this game was going to provide dividends beyond just passing the time. Scouting out the next day or two of shooting possibilities on each ride, looking for interesting views or other backdrops, I found myself rediscovering the available variety that exists even in my brief six-mile commute. Even on the bike, it’s possible to fall into the tunnel vision of “just getting there.” By slightly varying my route for example, I discovered that just a block or two east of my route on Harvard Avenue, there are stunning views of Portage Bay to be had on 10th. Even in the alleys or on the bridges I travel through each day, once you isolate a particular set of doors or girders, it becomes sort of picturesque and mysterious. Add in the darkness, occasional rain, available street lighting, and it became a fun break in each ride to stop, set something up and shoot before continuing on.
I just labeled them sequentially “1 of 31”, “2 of 31”, etc., without further explanation, which I guess may have annoyed some, but also sparked questions from others. “What are you doing?” “Where are you?” I guess because I enjoy planting surprises, I tended to answer a little opaquely to draw out some guesses. However, by month’s end there seemed to be an audience anticipating the next days installment. For some of my Seattle expat friends, the series was causing them to miss Seattle life. I guess my game worked out, because look, it’s already February!
If you’re connected to Kevin on Facebook, you can view all 31 images.