avatarAnne Bonfert



A New Year and a New Challenge With New Goals in Mind

My take on the 52-week photography project

Swinging into 2024. | Photo credit: Anne Bonfert

The new year hasn’t begun too bad if you consider 2024 was only two days old when we went out in the wilderness of New Zealand’s Fiordland and camped on a remote beach waking up to a full rainbow stretching across the sky the next morning.

When Full Frame launched last year the 52-week photography challenge I immediately said no to it. Or to myself. I was already taking part in a photography challenge where I shared a picture per day. I had no space for another one.

Or so, I thought.

Also, I don’t like being told what to do. Or to venture out of my comforts of nature, travel and wildlife photography. Or by any means, to shoot according to a certain topic.

And so the year began without my contributions to the publication’s new challenge. However, I read and admired other writer’s and photographer’s submissions. As spring came around I remembered I had a hard drive filled with images and would find a photograph fitting each prompt.

Maybe, it wasn’t the idea of the challenge to take out old photographs but it was my way into it. Once I had my first monthly submission published, others followed. With no month missing since.

And here we go. A new year has begun and I don’t even doubt not contributing again this January. But I have goals and ambitions this time.

Last year was to get the feel for it. To only step one foot at a time out of my comfort zone. This year, I won’t dig up any old photos. Each picture added to the prompt must be taken in the said month. Preferably with the challenge in mind but definitely within those four weeks. Or five.

So here we go.

Ambitious, confident and determined, I went out to shoot the images below.

Week 1: Everything old is new again — Go retro

While being on top of the list and having had a specific shot in mind from the moment I read the topic, it was the last one I finally filled — and not with the photograph I had in mind.

Since moving to New Zealand and the Central Otago region in particular, I have noticed how the locals down here love their old vintage cars.

We’ve passed old-fashioned convertibles, farm-style trucks polished to the brink and other vintage vehicles almost every day we’re on the road down here.

However, I haven’t managed to get a picture of any of them except for one time. Which was last month. And therefore last year. Certainly not an option to use it.

Only yesterday I drove past one in town and wanted to take a picture of it as I returned from the bottle store but I forgot. And it was so conveniently parked on the side of the road.

Yes, old vintage cars are certainly new again. In New Zealand. Polished and upgraded to modern times. Yet, I couldn’t get one in frame.

Or could I?

Walking out the door late this afternoon to take my daily picture for the weekly photo essay, I saw the shed and remembered the landlord’s old Landrover.

That’ll do.

What is new about it you might ask?

My creative photograph. Giving the old car a retro style through modern machinery.

Everything old is new again. | Photo credit: Anne Bonfert

Week 2: The Circle Game — Like the song, or not

This one was possibly the easiest for me as I had so many ideas. Circles are to be found everywhere. But then again, you can also take it in a transformed way. You can talk about what comes in circular ways.

I wanted to take more of a literal interpretation and thought of circular raindrops on the water. But then I remembered it never rains in the semi-arid climate I live in.

I thought of rocks. Pebbles on the beach. They weren’t circular enough for my liking.

Staring out the bedroom window late in the afternoon I had the aha moment. A stack of firewood leaning against the compost. In perfectly round shapes.

Certainly my circle game.

What song are we even talking about? Don’t try to explain something to me through songs or movies. My husband says I’m a hopeless case. Haven’t watched any movies nor know any classic songs.


The circle game. | Photo credit: Anne Bonfert

Week 3: Soft — Like cotton candy, or not

This one was the first picture I uploaded into this draft. While I didn’t take this picture in particular for this challenge, once I read the line above, I thought of nothing else but these incredibly cute chicks.

If you’re following my essays you might know I’ve been observing a family of California Quail very much circling our home daily. They have no more mother but a very attentive father keeping all seven of them safe.

And they have feathers soft like cotton candy. If you ask me.

Soft. | Photo credit: Anne Bonfert

Week 4: Film Noir — Get dark

I don’t shoot film but reading the theme I had to think of my tablet’s feature which offers a filter option called ‘noir’. That’ll do. I decided.

Which picture to choose for the conversion also didn’t take long as I opted for those foxgloves standing out so brightly on our first hike of the year.

Lots of contrast and sharp edges. Perfect for getting dark.

Film Noir. | Photo credit: Anne Bonfert

Week 5: Lie to me — Like the song, or not

This one was tricky. I don’t like to lie. I don’t like to be lied to and I’ve been told I’m a bad liar. Which I’m proud of. So what to do with this one? Again, I have no idea what the reference of what song will refer to.

But then, out of nowhere, I found the right photograph.

I was paddling out on the Kawarau River hugging the coastline protected from the wind when I decided to not only film above but also underneath the water’s surface.

Back home, replaying and rewatching the clips I had taken, I paused the frame and watched it over and over. The moment of putting the camera into the river offered a spectacular shot. If I only managed to pause the clip at the right time to take a screenshot from it.

There it was. The photograph from above and below. Like a cut through the water. Or seen from behind a glass wall.

But wait, are those the roots of the trees on the far end of the river? Now, I guess I’m lying after all…

Lie to me. | Photo credit: Anne Bonfert

This is a writing prompt for Rodrigo S-C‘s 52-week photography challenge in Full Frame. It is a community of many like-minded and passionate photographers. Check out their submissions and responses to the prompt:

Aaron Paulson with “Photography Challenge: 52 Week January Edition

Susie Kearley with “Go Carts, Goth Weekend, Guinea Pigs & More

davíð matthías with “Full Frame Photography Challenge: 52 Week December Edition

Join my email list here if you would like to read more photo essays.

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New Zealand
52 Week Challenge
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