It’s a new day. I started the Clouds 365 Project on July 1, 2009, and on June 30—four years or 1460 days later—the Clouds 365 Project will end, allowing my cloud and weather photography to grow in new ways. It’s bittersweet, saying goodbye to the rules and routine of Clouds 365. And I won’t really be saying goodbye. After all, clouds are imprinted on my mind and deeply rooted in my life and the life of my family. Every day will find me carrying my camera and looking up at the sky. And I will continue to share images through Facebook, Google+, and kellydelay.com regularly.
I love this project; I always will. I love the support I have received over the years, which has been amazing and humbling. I love what the project has taught me about myself and what I am capable of, and I am proud of the level of creativity I have been able to maintain. I love what it has taught my children and how it has allowed us to play and learn together. What I have learned in the past four years has been astounding (about my equipment, processes, weather, printing, social media, myself, and on and on). Here are a few intersting notes from the past four years, I have:
• Posted 1630 images on clouds365.com;
• Shared over 400 images of sunrises and sunsets;
• Photographed the sky in 26 states; and
• Have shot over a million images (including time lapse)
I’m proud of what the Clouds 365 Project has accomplished, for me and for the community. Because of the work I started in Clouds 365, I have become an environmental/ weather photographer. It’s who I am now. And I’m grateful for what you’ve done for me as well. You have pushed me, and you have made me a better person, artist and photographer.
So why close the Clouds 365 Project? While most days it was a joy. I would jump out of bed ready to photograph the sunrise or travel hundreds of miles in search of a great location or storms. I truly love what I do. There were those days, though: the sixty days out of the year that have clear skies, smog, 110° days, birthday parties, illness, etc. that sometimes made it difficult. Moreover, the areas around me—my favorite fields for sunrise and sunset, for capturing the flight of a hawk or the quiet of a misty morning—are disappearing. Trees are being bulldozed here, roads paved, and houses built on what once felt like my windows to the sky.
But that’s not all there is to it, either. The pressure to post a new picture every day was important for developing the discipline and awareness that was essential to the project, but now that those things have become ingrained in me, I also need a chance to reflect on what I’ve done—on what we’ve done. I’m excited about having the time to explore clouds in new ways, to go back and reflect on the images I’ve taken and how they fit together. Taking this time to reflect will only improve my future work.
I’m ready to step out as myself and develop my own identity as a photographer. That’s what I’ve become through this project. Clouds will remain a project for me, a very dear one; but it’s not all of who I am. Don’t think I’ll be far away, though. I have big plans for Clouds once I can step back and work on it with a fresh perspective. I have dreams for a book, a show, prints, etc. Having amassed a huge collection of photographs that reflect the many moods and spirit of clouds, many of which have not been published, I look forward to showing my work in new ways.
Making this difficult decision has also made me appreciate anew the community and the people who have supported me over the years. There are many who have touched me deeply with their comments and their loyalty. Some have followed since day one and shared their clouds, their hopes and losses. I have made many new friends because of the Clouds 365 Project and hope that I have inspired you to take a moment to look up. I will from time to time be contributing more to the Clouds 365 Community, and that website will keep going on as long as you want it to. And of course, there is no one I have to thank more for their commitment to this project that my wife Stephanie, who is also a photographer and the project editor and my two daughters, both of them artists already.
June 30 will be a celebration of all we’ve done together (and look for something special to celebrate the occasion!). I thank you from the bottom of my heart for the richness of the experiences and relationships I’ve had. June 30 also marks the beginning of the next stage of my journey as a photographer, and I hope you’ll come along with me on the ride!