On a sultry Saturday in July, I participated in an event called Worldwide Photo Walk, created by Photoshop guru and teacher Scott Kelby. As its name implies, Worldwide Photo Walk is an international event where photographers gather together and go on a photo excursion in their city. I know a number of other local photographers, but everyone on the Photo Walk was new to me, so it’s a great way to meet people. Each group has a leader, ours being Mike Olivella, a commercial photographer specializing in sports photography. Mike led us from our meeting spot at Andrew’s Capital Grill & Bar to the Downtown Market, Old City Cemetery, Kleman Plaza, and the State Capitol Building. We spent about half an hour photographing at each location, and the walk between locales provided plenty of interesting opportunities as well.
I found only a few minor drawbacks to the Photo Walk. The first was the heat and humidity, which made the idea of carrying my equipment backpack around for a couple of hours really unappealing. I already figured it would only take about ten minutes to start sweating profusely, and I didn’t want to raise my risk of heat exhaustion. Bringing my tripod was also out, since it’s too heavy and bulky for extensive walking. And, of course, here in the Florida Panhandle, summer thunderstorms often crop up. Walking around with the perfect lightning rod just doesn’t sound like a good idea. Fortunately, the weather cooperated.
Another drawback was the risk of getting so engrossed in your work that you lose the group. One or two people had that problem early on but managed to catch up. After we’d been at the State Capitol Building for a while, I felt ready to move on, but since everyone was still milling around, I sat down in front of a plaque of a man’s face to take some close-ups. When I got up a few minutes later, everyone was gone. I looked around for them, to no avail. At that point, it was time for us to supposedly get together back at Andrew’s to share our photos and grab a bite to eat. I went over there and waited for ten minutes or so, but they didn’t show up. Having already walked around for two and a half hours, I felt gross and tired, so I opted to go home. Despite the sweat factor and losing the group, it was a fun outing.
The bonus to taking part in the Worldwide Photo Walk is the chance to win prizes. Participants can enter one shot to compete with others from their group, with the best photo from each locale chosen by its respective group leader. Group-level winners receive a free Scott Kelby book, their choice of The Lightroom 3 Book for Digital Photographers or The Photoshop CS5 Book for Digital Photographers. I’m happy to say that I won the top spot for Tallahassee, with the photo posted above. Since I’ll likely be upgrading to CS5 soon, the Photoshop CS5 book will come in darn handy.
Each city’s best images are also eligible for the Grand Prize, Honorable Mentions (both chosen by Scott Kelby) , and the People’s Choice award. Winners in those categories receive gift certificates from Adorama, ranging from $250 to $1000. The Grand Prize and Honorable Mentions also get a free one-year subscription to Kelby Training Online. Not too shabby. Although I didn’t win either the Grand Prize or an Honorable Mention, as of this writing I’m still up for the People’s Choice award. You can help by voting for my photo by August 23, 2010. On Worldwide Photo Walk’s website, go to People’s Choice page 13 and scroll down until you see the thumbnail of my image labeled “Tallahassee.” Each photo has five stars on it; hold your cursor over the number of stars you want to give my image and click. I do have one gripe about how they’ve posted the photos there, which is that there’s a mostly-opaque white bar across the bottom of each photo with the entrant’s name and location. Because it covers up a portion of the actual image, it puts photographers like me who compose shots tightly at a disadvantage. Anyway, thanks for voting!
If you’re kicking yourself because you wish you had been able to participate, don’t worry. It’s an annual event, so you can go on the Worldwide Photo Walk next year.
© Karen Joslin, 2010