Folks, Bill has - most graciously - asked me to wrap up this year's Single in January challenge. I'll seize the opportunity to initiate a discussion about how it should be carried out in the future. I find it hard to express how much I enjoyed the whole affair - even though it may have been taxing and frustrating at times, but that was to be expected and didn't take away significantly from the main experience. Above all else, it was exhilerating to come back to the forum every day to find another thriving thread full of interesting and strong images, which in turn motivated me to do the best I could in the circumstances. What's more, everyone took care to keep the atmosphere welcoming, encouraging, yet purposeful and focused. I want to thank all participants and supporters for joining in and congratulate those of us - i.e. most of us! - who made it through to the end. There were, however, some very accurate critical observations about the conditions and limitations of Single in January. Let's take a step back and consider them. "Single" was originally meant to signify a very clear call for self-inforced expectations and limitations: one month, one posted image per day, but also one camera (if possible, even exclusively!), one lens with one focal length. More and more people have voiced concerns about the pressure and sometimes suffering these rules have caused them, so let's examine them in more detail: Using a single focal length can really make your creative juices flow, but it also means that many subjects or image opportunities are out of bounds; you get your eye in only to realise that you are unable to take some images you would have loved to catch and show. Additionally, for an EDC camera, a zoom lens may simply feel like the more sensible choice. The same goes for the "only one camera" aspect; depending on your choice, you can wrap your head around how the body works and what it can do, but sooner or later - at least if you have access to more than one camera - you'll run into issues or situations when a different setup would open up an opportunity or fit the circumstances better; think bulk and weight (the EDC aspect can be a huge issue if you choose a more capable, but also more bulky combo) or low light capabilities. The fact that the challenge runs for a whole month and demands that you post one image a day is core and key to the challenge; thus, this is rarely called into question on the whole, but there actually is one observable issue: Up to now, the Single *in January* has been the only regular challenge, and that means that we visit the same season and conditions as well as the same subject matter year after year, leading to repetition as well as difficulties for some; to illustrate this, here in central Europe, it's winter time, cold, cloudy or foggy, generally wet and dark, with little light around at the edges of the day (though if you can catch it, it can be beautiful). I personally cope sufficiently well, but the conditions lead to more safety shots around the house than I'd like, and those who are further north have even tougher conditions. On the other side of the world, people are baking in the relentless summer sun and have to force themselves out into the heat and glare if they want to achieve variety. The key question to my mind is whether all - if any - of these conditions and limitations is conducive to the fun and quality of the results of the "Single in" challenge format. I would invite everyone to join in to create the best set of conditions to make it the most rewarding experience for as many people as possible; the poll (in which you can choose as many options as you like) is meant to make it easier to make out general tendencies. So, let's start the discussion. First and foremost, I think it's worth thinking about breaking the rhythm and change it to a nine-month cycle; this way, not only would everyone see different (and differently difficult) conditions and seasons, but it would provide all of us with even more interesting insights into each other's daily views and surroundings. I want to propose a "Single in" cycle: January, October, July, April - repeating every three years. What are your thoughs on this (see the first three questions fo the poll)? Secondly, I think we could also discuss how strictly we want to enforce other limitations. It is true that a single camera with a single prime lens forces you to get creative to get enough shots you feel comfortable about presenting to other photographers. But as I indicated above, you collect a wealth of experience this way, and maybe have to break your usual habits and patterns to make it work. On the other hand, it can be really frustrating and sometimes get you down sufficiently to drop out - I certainly have had these moments, more than once. To account for this, we have been understanding and agreed to gear changes for a while now - so it would only be logical to change the old rule into a recommendation for those of us who feel ready and able to stand the pressure; it's not as if the resulting images from those who chose a dfiferent route are less rewarding to look at! The fourth and fifth option in the poll take care of this aspect. Finally, there's another issue arising: The challenge has gained in popularity, so more and more people would like to participate, but some struggle with getting one image a day posted; some have even dropped out because of one single day they had to miss. I'm in two minds about this - on one hand, I don't think it's sensible to be religious about any kind of fun challenge on an online bulletin board, on the other hand, the search for images, the self-inforced pressure to post every day is a key aspect of the whole format in my experience - again, another source of creativity, though a tough demand at times. But truth be told, I don't have any problems whatsoever with accepting other people's decision to leave out a day or three. I just won't let myself let the sides down in that respect - again, it's obviously a personal decision, nothing I want to have to enforce. And while it's sometimes a bit sad not to get to see someone's continuous flow of great images, it's by no means taking away from the entertainment and inspiration the challenge provides. So, I have included another three options into the poll to let you have your say about this as well. As usual, I hope I haven't overdone it. I want to finish with a big THANKS! to everyone who participated and contributed in any other way - not only did we have a great time once more looking at everyone's images, it was a great show of support and encouragement, good humour, wit and attitude I wouldn't have wanted to miss for a fortune. Happy shooting - and may the light be with you M.