Photos by Sam Mort 

6th Annual Photo Walk

My first photo walk was the Scott Kelby 6th Annual World Wide Photo Walk

I belong to a few photography groups, but I rarely attend events. It seems like networking with other photographers isn’t as important as trying to network with potential clients. I do think it’s a good idea to get some insight into how other photogs do things and ‘talk shop’, but I’ve never really seen the urgency. Getting to hang out with other ‘togs on Mill Ave in Tempe AZ and get some guidance from Alex McClure who is an Olympus Trailblazer for a free photowalk just seemed too irresistible to pass up. It was a great experience one where I was able to learn a few things, have a lot of fun, and got to meet some interesting people.

Waiting to turn

You can look at other people and compare yourself (and sometimes you should), but I have learned that will just lead you to be disappointed when you can’t capture someone else’s unique style. So I try not to be a follower and made it my goal, of the evening, to watch the other photographers and try to do something different than they were doing. A lot of them brought out tripods and went for long exposures and light trails. I instead went for hand held panning shots (where you physically move the camera to keep up with your subject).

Taxi Panning Shot
Import Panning Shot
Men on Bikes Panning Shot

The other photographers were also almost entirely self described landscape photographers. While they were happy snapping away photos of buildings and architecture while maybe trying to work in some light trails I had no problem snapping pictures of people. Sometimes candid shots and sometimes asking people outright if I could take their photo. While I did have a few people actually say ‘no’, most were more than happy to let me take their photo and even pose for me. A few drunk people even stopped me and asked if I would take their photo (it was Mill Ave after-all).

If you’re dressed like this you’re asking for a photo!
Our Waitress/Bartender at Fuzzy’s Taco “Can you pick that up and pose with it for me?”
I’m sure…
This guy was walking around smoking a cigar, reading a Bible (on the ground to the right) and listening to music
College kids planning their evening

I tried to watch the shots the others took of objects then take the shot from a different angle or crouching low and moving around an object to get a different point of view. Since most of the other photographers were on tripods this means that most of them stood and used the tripod to help them get a low light shot with long shutter speeds. I relied on handheld low shutter ( 1/10 — 1/30th (16 — 50mm)) with IS (image stabilization) wide aperture (F/1.4 — F/2.8) and high ISO (800 — 1000) to get my shots. I swapped out between my 16 — 50mm (F2.8) zoom and my 35mm(F1.9) and 50mm(F1.4) primes to give me some different lens speed options.

Park and ride Bikes at Light Rail station
Tandem bike

One Piece of Advice that I tried to incorporate was Alex McClure (the walk leader)’s advice on using signs to create a story or catch a bit of irony in your photos.

This guy almost runs me over on his bike. I turn around and say “Don’t move! let me get your photo!” He smiles posed under the “No bicycling on sidewalk” sign.
‘No bicycling on sidewalk’ (maybe being so drunk you have to hang off your boyfriends arm while you peddle is an exception clause I didn’t know about?)

The end result of this made me pretty happy with my photos. I’m not saying what I did was better or worse than the other photogs. I just wanted to do something different from what they were doing. Put my own spin on things and capture my own images. I learned some new tricks that night and discovered a good reason to network with other photogs while I was at it. Over all it was a great night and I look forward to the next event!

You can see my favorite shots from the evening here:

Smile you’re on camera!