About two weeks ago I started a 100-day project.
During an episode of Track Changes, design instructors Michael Beirurt and
Jessica Helfand discussed an assignment they give: “Just pick something and do it
over and over again for 100 days.”
One of the goals is to build a habit of doing something. Beirut quotes
Chuck Close: “Inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us just show up and
get to work.”
For my 100-day project, I’m taking a photo of the Bodie Island lighthouse. (It’s
pronounced like “body.”)
In addition to “showing up,” I expect this will help me develop my creative
muscles. In order to take 100 photos of the same object I’m going to have to
think about different ways of shooting without it becoming repetitive.
There are a few rules for this project:
One photo per day toward the project. I might take shots with different
exposure settings, but I do my best to keep the camera and framing steady.
I can take other photos, but they don’t count towards the project. That means
I can’t “bank” photos.
The light station must be in the photo. It doesn’t have to be subject, but
it needs to be identifiable.
When I leave town, the 100-day counter is paused. When I return, the counter
resumes. I’ll end up with 100 photos of the station, but it may take more than
That’s about it. I’ve deliberately not included uploading as part of the
schedule. I’ve managed to upload most of the photos on the same day, but
sometimes I’m busy and need to wait a day or two to process and upload.
Which brings me to processing. I am making adjustments in Lightroom before
uploading. The changes are usually slight modifications to exposure, contrast,
color balance, and/or cropping. It’s not an explicit rule, but I don’t expect to
use any Instagram-like filters or do other heavily stylized post-processing.
I’ve managed to keep things interesting (at least to me) for 13 days, we’ll see
if I can keep it up for 87 more.
View the album
“Every human being has a basic instict: to help each other out. If a hiker
gets lost in the mountains, people will coordinate a search. If a train
crashes, people will line up to give blood. If an earthquake levels a city,
people all over the world will send emergency supplies. This is so
fundamentally human that it’s found in every culture without exception.
Yes, there are assholes who just don’t care, but they’re massively outnumbered
by the people who do.”
While I was living in Philadelphia, the city launched a bike share program,
Indego. I signed up early and used it regularly
to get from my apartment in Society Hill to CityCoHo,
where I was renting a desk.
I had played around with Status Board, but hadn’t had much of a use for
it until I found the
API for the status of the bike share stations.
It didn’t happen often, but it was annoying to get to a station and find
that there are no bikes to check out, or no docks available to return a bike.
Since I used the same stations regularly, it seemed like a good use case
of Status Board: I could create a table showing the available bikes and
docks for my favorite stations and check it whenever I was about to head out.
So I created Indego+Status Board.
I built the site using Flask. The index page
calls the bike share API to create a map of stations. You can click on
stations to add them to your list and then view them in Status Board
or in the browser.
The data are collected the same way for both Status Board and the HTML view.
The URL contains a list of station IDs as part of the query string. When
the Flask route is called, it fetches the station data from the API, loops
through the stations to find the ones with the right IDs and then renders a
simple HTML table with the requested data.
The Status Board table
has very little styling—the app has a table style already—just enough to
align the blue and gray bars.
I used it pretty regularly, though, and it was useful for me. There were a
couple of times that I could see that the station nearest my apartment was
full, so I knew to use an alternate on my way home.
But then I moved out of Philly and Panic announced they were shutting
down Status Board, so
now seems like a good time to retire this project and save myself a few
bucks a month by powering down the droplet.
The code is on GitHub if you’d like to run your own version. And it turns
out that other bike share programs have data APIs, so it could be adapted.