Why I Think You Should Go on the Third Annual Worldwide Photo Walk

June 12, 2010
A photo from when I went on last year's Worldwide Photo Walk

A photo from when I went on last year's Worldwide Photo Walk

You may have already heard of Scott Kelby’s Worldwide Photo Walk, but if not, let me give you a really quick recap. For the third year in a row, photographers from all over the world are going to meet up in groups of no more than 50, to walk around various cities and take photos, all on the same day. Most walks include an optional post-walk get-together at a bar, restaurant or coffee shop where you can talk about the day and show off the photos you took.

I went on the second annual walk last near, and now I’m going to devote a whole entry to convincing you to go to the third annual walk.

Learn from Others

No matter how much you know about photography, and no matter how many photowalks you’ve been on, there’s still something that you’re probably going to learn from other people on the walk. Even if you have all the technical stuff about taking photos down (which, I applaud you if you do, there are still things I struggle with), you’ll see the shots that are other people are lining up, and start seeing things from a different perspective. It’s so easy to get stuck in a rut of the type of photos that you typically take, and know look good, that it’s nice to see things that other people are doing, get inspired, and try something different.

Last year, our leader (every walk has a leader) had a Canon (a nicer one than mine – which isn’t saying much – but I can’t remember which one it was), with a pretty L-series lens on it, so I was able to talk to a real person about lenses, and which one I should get next as a good walk-around lens. I’d done a lot of research online, but there’s something to be said to talking face-to-face with someone about these things.

Teach Others

Unless you just pick up your very first camera the day of the photo walk, there’s going to be something you already know about photography. In fact, I’m going to assume that if you’re reading this website, you not only already have a camera, but are interested enough in photography to be reading about it on the internet. I was surprised that the other people in my group (granted, I was walking with a very small group) didn’t seem to pay as much attention to the internet world of photography that I did. I have to admit, I was really nervous last year, so I didn’t talk much about anything directly related to taking photos, but I was able to share some of my favorite sites, and I’d like to think that someone went home and started looking those up online, and learned just one piece of information from those sites. If so, then I indirectly contributed to someone learning something about photography, and that makes me happy.

This year, I’m a bit more confident about the photowalk in general, and my photography experience, so I’m ready and willing to start answering questions and helping other walkers. And, from what a lot of you have said in comments, I’m confident that each of you have something to contribute as well.

Heck, if nothing else, you can tell people “I read this great photography website called iffles.com!” Hee!

Learn about your City

Whenever I go to shoot downtown Akron, I always seem to go to all of my favorite spots. Whenever I go up to Cleveland, I always feel like I don’t know where to shoot, so in both cities, I’ve felt I haven’t had a chance to explore all there is to offer photography-wise. A photowalk in either of these cities would provide new opportunities for me.

Last year, I actually went on the walk in Medina, Ohio – a small town outside of Akron that has a beautiful Town Square. I made this decision because I didn’t like the location of the Akron photowalk and wasn’t willing to drive up to Cleveland. I had been to Medina once or twice, but never with a camera, so it was a completely new experience, and that was exciting. It’s probably a city I never would have thought to go photograph otherwise.

(On a side note, I haven’t signed up for a walk for this year yet, because I was waiting to see what all will be offered nearby – if you’re in the Cleveland/Akron area, and sign up for a walk and would like me to be on the same walk, let me know. I’m willing to drive farther this year, especially if it means I get a chance to meet up with one of you)

See Parts of your City you Might Not See Otherwise

A photo from when I went on the Worldwide Photo Walk last year

A photo from when I went on the Worldwide Photo Walk last year

A lot of the leaders of the walk arrange for you to get access to places that might not usually be open to the public and/or allow cameras. For instance, the Akron photowalk is going to a cemetery that, according to the walk page is “rarely open to the public”. If there is more than one walk in your area, you might want to keep an eye out for any that will give you this kind of access.

Meet Other Photographers

I have a ton of internet connections with photographers (some that are mutual, some that are more “oh hai, I drool over your photo awesomeness. kthnxbye), but I really don’t know anyone else that lives near me that is quite as passionate about photography that I am. I am starting to meet a few more people, but I tend to meet people that are around my age, and most people in their thirties are planning or already have kids, which really eats into their photography time (not that I blame them!), so spending time out shooting together is pretty limited. I go on almost all of my photowalks alone, and sometimes it’s really nice to just enjoy being around someone else that you can “talk shop” with.

Win Prizes!

It’s a really tough competition, so I’m not saying you definitely will win a prize, but goodness, the prizes are nice (I wouldn’t mind $1000 to spend at Adorama!). Last year, the prize list was much larger (though I don’t believe there was one giant sponsor like Adorama), and kept growing as the date got closer, so I can’t say one way or the other if anything will be added to this year’s list – but, once again, can you really complain about Adorama gift cards?

Tips for Picking Your Walk

I’ve already mentioned to look for walks near you that might provide you access to a place you might not normally be able to get to, but another thing to look at is time. I’m hemming and hawing about going to the Akron walk because it starts at 1:45PM. I would much prefer one that started later so we could take advantage of the evening light that’s much more diffuse than the harsh light of early afternoon.

Of course, if you live in/nearby a smaller city, you might only have one option, in which case, I suggest you select that one!

If there are no walks near you, it’s possible that you might be able to start your own walk, but you might want to check out the list of responsibilities and qualifications before you sign up to be a leader.

Unrelated news about iffles.com

The prognosis is looking good for recovering the data from the old laptop, I’ve just run into a little bit of an issue that I’m hoping we’ll be able to resolve (which I’ll mention down below for any Computer Geeks that want to chime in). I was hoping to have that fixed before going through all the May photos from the flickr group (since, as you may recall, I already picked out all the April photos and they’re sitting on that harddrive), but since it looks like that’s not going to happen, I plan on going through all the May photos tomorrow. So, if you have any lingering Color photos captured in May, but sure to upload them soon! And don’t forget that we’re well into June – Urban!

So, the computer problem that I feel I might as well mention here because I’ve been too preoccupied to google it, and I know I have a handful of Computer Geeks reading that might be able to offer some advice, is as follows (wow, that was quite a sentence. I’m sore I could have worded that better). I have the laptop drive in a new case and can connect it to the new laptop, and I can get to all the data except that which is in my User folder – which of course is where most of my data is. When I try opening said folder on my new (Windows 7) laptop it says I don’t have permission to view said folder (which was created in Vista), but it pops up the “do you want to continue anyway?” box, and I say yes, but then it hangs. Because I can get to all the other data, I’m assuming the hard drive is at least mostly fine, and it seems too much of a coincidence to have just MY data fail, so I’m guessing there’s something funky going on with the permissions set in Vista and trying to access it in Windows 7. Any ideas?

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  • *l*

    Wow! Thanks to your post, I found out there is a photo walk in my little town! I might have to give it a try.

  • For a really geeked out way, find a computer with a recent version of linux on it. Linux can read windows drives and doesn't even look at the permissions.

    I've run into the permissions issue a few times now (if you reinstall windows 7 you're going to get permission issues reading any of the old data). You can try just right clicking on the old users folder, go to security, and add yourself to the list of users. There's also an advanced button somewhere where you can set the owner of the files, set that to yourself as well.

  • Mike

    FYI I have been on the internet reading about photography almost everyday since that walk in Medina. I added your sight and DPS to my favorites as soon as I got home. I have learned to much since that day. I felt very inadequate that day. I spent a good bit of the day watching you and Alex. I was challenged and inspired. So I second what you have said....no matter your level of experience or the quality of your equipment this is a great opportunity.

  • Ken

    I did the photo-walk last year. It was a lot of fun. I'm signed up for this year too. My suggestion for anyone going the first time is to travel light. Last year I used a camera and 3 lenses. I had a lot of fun. But I think this year I'm only going to carry a camera and one lens, no bag.

  • oh my gosh, I totally agree. I did the exact same thing - a bag with multiple lenses, and I'm going with just one lens and no bag this year. When the time gets closer, I'm planning on writing a "what you should (and should not) bring with you on the photowalk, so if you have any more experience to share from last year, let me know!

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