Photowalking

Salt Lake City from Above

A few years ago a group led by Jesse Stay and Scott Jarvie included in their weekend photo excursion an evening on top of the LDS Church Office Building, capturing some amazing sunset and night photos. Admittedly I was pretty jealous as I was unable to stick around for that part of the day and therefore didn’t have an invite. Ever since I’ve been wanting to get up top that building and enjoy the vantage point during a sunset. This week I had that opportunity.

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Photowalking Utah: The Living Planet Aquarium

It’s been a busy photography week for me in a variety of ways, perhaps most importantly was the upgrade of my camera from the Canon 5D Mark II to the Canon 5D Mark III. As we all know, a camera is just a tool, but getting that cool, not new technological marvel can be a great new tool. I like to say though, with a better tool I can make even better terrible photos!

My camera had just arrive Friday late afternoon, and Saturday morning early I had the opportunity to join a small Photowalking Utah group at The Living Planet Aquarium before hour for some photography fun. We were given some quiet special access to try and make photos not only for ourselves, but to share with the aquarium’s marketing department.

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Objectively Creative

Last night I had the opportunity to join the Provo Creative Meetup Group on an outing near my home. It seems I usually miss their events as they conflict with other commitments on my schedule, so I was happy when things opened up so I could attend.

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Salt Lake City Temple Square – Christmas 2009

I had the opportunity last night to join my “like minded” friends of Photowalking Utah for the third annual Salt Lake City Temple Square Holiday Photowalk. This is always one of the most popular events of the year, with many people joining us to take in the beautiful display of lights & Christmas spirit. Who can blame us?

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Photowalking Newport Beach

This last week I had a wonderful week of R&R in Southern California.  Beach, family, beach, Disneyland, and did I mention the beach?  Our family loves the beach, so therefore most of our days consisted of getting up late, moseying around until the fog burned off, and then heading off for a day of playing on the beach.

A few times I ventured off with camera in hand to capture a few local scenes, once meeting up with Twitter Friend and fellow photog Bryan Villarin.  Thanks for making the trek up the coast for a brief meet up!

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2009 Worldwide Photowalk – Downtown SLC Edition

Perspective

Perspective

Saturday I participated in the Salt Lake City downtown photowalk as part of the second annual Scott Kelby Worldwide Photowalk.  It was amazing to see the number of registered walks and people around the world, but something almost expected with the awesome photographer community we have here in Utah.  Two photowalks were scheduled due to filling up so fast here, though I was only able to make the first of the two.  There were plenty of (encouraged) walk ups, so the crowd was big.  With this kind of outdoor wandering event, the more the merrier.

I’ve mentioned previously how I enjoy photowalks for a variety of reasons, but in short it’s about interacting with the great people – new and old to the concept – and sharing in knowledge and fun.  It was interesting to watch the group naturally split up into subgroups following different paths and ideas.  Some stayed with the lead group continually walking, while others stopped, set up some speed lights and did an impromptu modeling session.  You create your own experience on a photowalk.

I mainly took video to put together into a wrap up piece (hopefully over the next couple of days), but I managed to snap a few photos as well. Nice to be able to do both on the 5Dii.

Be sure to see my entire set from the day, as well as the group pool.

Mini-Photowalk @ Lehi Roller Mills

Lehi Mini-Photowalk Group (sans me)

Lehi Mini-Photowalk Group (sans me)

Kim Guanzon and I were lamenting last week about the lack of social media meet ups (tweetups) happening in Utah County versus those happening up in the Salt Lake area.  So Kim got the ball rolling and with a little last minute announcement on the Photowalking Utah flickr discussions turning this into an ad hoc mini-walk, we assembled this motley crew you see above (sans me because I was taking the photo & didn’t have a tripod with me).

We gathered at the Lehi Roller Mills (a la Footloose) and did some portrait shooting of each other.  We had originally intended to just walk around the city from there but quickly realized any other locations were a bit far of a walk for our short mini-walk time frame.

As we finished up some staff of the Roller Mills came out to see what we were up to.  It was really quite humorous to us, though there were pretty serious in being prepared for trouble.  They came in a posse of 6-7 guys including one – I kid you not – tapping a large flashlight against his hand.  They even said the oh so overused “I’m gonna need your film then” which I couldn’t help but laugh and say “Sorry, no film here guys.”  The whole situation was quickly diffused by Rich Legg as he showed them photos on the back of the camera we were creating.  Why is it everyone always assume that a bunch of guys with cameras equates to trouble?  I admit we are pretty shady looking group though.

We headed out of some lunch afterward wrapping up what was a great break from the daily routine at work.  Thanks guys!

You can see photos from this day taken by:

It was a lot of fun, and I look forward to organizing some of these in the future.  No fancy or involved set up, just pick a place and time, then see who can come via Twitter, Facebook and Flickr discussion groups.  If you want to get together in your area of have an idea for a mini-walk, go for it!

Photowalking Antelope Island

Antelope Island

Antelope Island

This last weekend I had the opportunity to join the Photowalking Utah group out on Antelope Island for the annual Bison Roundup.  Though the actual roundup took place earlier in the week, this was an opportunity to get up close to these amazing animals while being checked, sorted and vetted.  My wife and two of my kids made the early morning trek from where we live, which is about an hour and a half drive, the morning after Halloween I might add!  Though there were some that went up early for the sunrise, we decided the 9:30 meeting time was early enough for us.

If you have never been to Antelope Island, it is located West of Syracuse, Utah, connected to the “mainland” by a causeway.  We met at the State Park gates to allow for some carpooling to save on the entrande fee.  While driving on the causeway, I noticed the scene you see above and had to stop the car for a quick few photos.  I could have spent a lot of time getting more of these scenes, but I wanted to get up to the corral.

Once up at the right location, our caravan of cars was squeezed into the available parking and we gathered for an early group shot.  Getting the group shot right off the bat seems like a wise choice considering last time we only had a small portion of the group represented when we tried to take the shot at the end.  Scott Smith, the organizer of this photowalk took the shot and has posted it on flickr.

Escape!

Escape!

The enclosure for the bison as they were run through their tests and sorted had only a small number of viewing points, so everyone had to take turns looking for their shots.  Photowalks are a funny thing for me, depending on my mood I may spend more time with the actual subject we are there for, and other times either just socialize or take photos of other things.  This time around I took a variety of bison shots, but ended up shooting more photos of the photowalkers in action.  I came back with a fun set of photos and having had a great time with friends.  You can view my flickr set from the outing to see more of what I ended up taking and posting.  Also, check out the flickr pool of what everyone has posted to seem some great photos.

Sharp perspective

Sharp perspective

The next outing is a ladies walk, so I’ll pass on that 🙂  December will likely have a couple of events, so keep tabs on announcements on the PhotwalkingUtah.com site.

Another thing I enjoy about photowalking

another passing

another passing

This particular photo featured above is one that was taken after a portrait themed event in the park.  So why did I capture a leaf?  This was taken after I had packed up my gear and was just about to load into the car and head home.  I looked around one last time to take in the beautiful scenery and it struck me how the leaves were falling all around us.  Duh, I thought.  I haven’t taken a good, simple detail shot of a leaf this fall.  I grabbed the camera, crouched down and snapped a few right on the ground outside my car.

Often when I am taking photos for a particular project, theme or idea, I tend to get those blinders that keep me looking for only specific kinds of photos.  I like to say I’m “focused” but in reality I hate it when I miss opportunities for great photos simply because I am not looking for them.  This is one reason I enjoy the photowalk concept so much.  We go out with a theme, but in the end simply being out looking for great photos frees me up to look for shots of any kind in a new environment.

When I get out with other photographers with the sole purpose of finding and capturing the best photos I can, I start to look outside my typical mindset of a good photo and search for something new.  Of course I still have my style that comes through in everything I shoot, but I am keen to try and expand what my style actually includes.  I enjoy watching the other photographers in their quest for great photos and often emulate (read that as copy, steal, whatever you like) their composition so I have my own photo to remember and learn from.

Photowalking has many aspects to enjoy, including the social and exploration opportunities, but we all take away from a photowalk what we put into it.  I enjoy helping to organize events, meeting new photogs, and pushing my social tendencies to interact with new people.  Other people like the locations we head out to, but choose to wander off alone to capture their own creative findings.  These are all good things.

After an event, the photowalk keeps on giving as photographers share their photos online.  I always have the “wow” moments learning from the perspectives and processing that others do mixed with feelings of inadequacy as I see such amazing talent in the group.  I usually round this off with a renewed feeling of wanting to improve as a photographer, excited to get out on my own and on the next event to feed the need.

Photography for me is a sometimes paying profession, but mostly passionate hobby.  I have come to fill much of my discretionary time with photography, and enjoyed every bit of it.  It is one of those things I have so much room to improve, yet can feel a sense of accomplishment as I progress.  I often compare it to golf, something at which I have much room to improve.  Much of my game is merely adequate, but it is that every-so-often amazing shot you get in that keeps you coming back.  In photography, when you capture those images that you are proud of, it keeps you coming back, searching to get the next great photo.

Holding on to life

Holding on to life

Canon 40D, 24-105L, mixed exposure values available on flickr by clicking each image.

Dancing Fool

Dancing Fool

Dancing Fool

When we were wrapping up shooting in the Gondola at Liberty Park in Salt Lake City, a group of people with a radio in hand asked if they could take over. Much like our Utah Strobist group, they were a dancing club that gets together periodically to enjoy their hobby. Before leaving we explained what we were doing and I snapped a few photos of this gentleman what was part of their group. He was happy to pose for us.

Of course I mean no disrespect with this title, rather a compliment to the guy. A “Dancing Fool” was a fun name for an enthusiastic dancer as far as I have heard it referenced.  As I put the camera down and enjoyed some time with my family in the park, I kept an eye on this group as they danced away the afternoon.  They looked to be having a great time, as much as we photo geeks had in our meet up.

This is part of an outing at Liberty Park in Salt Lake City with the Utah Strobist group.

Full set on my SmugMug site