This past Saturday, July 24th was Scott Kelby’s 3rd Annual Worldwide Photowalk which Betty and I participated in in downtown Atlanta! We first signed up for the Orlando walk which was organized to walk through downtown Sanford when sign-ups were first opened. Since our move to Atlanta, of course the Atlanta walk was already maxed out at 50 walkers. Luckily for us the person leading the walk was also the head of the Southeastern Photographic Society, which we had just joined! After shooting Ken a quick email, he gave us the go-ahead to tag along as unofficial walkers J. Packing only one lens each, we headed out at 8:45am down to Centennial Olympic Park to join the walk!
The good thing for us is that Centennial Park is only about 4 blocks away, so we could get away with sleeping in a little later the most others! As we walked over to the amphitheater, we saw about 30 other people with cameras around their necks and knew we were in the right place. After a brief introduction from Ken, we were off and walking!
We headed down Marietta back towards downtown as a group and pretty much started straight away shooting. Since we live in the same district we were walking in, I was admittedly a little disengaged at first. People were stopping and taking pictures of things I see a couple times a week whenever I go running through the neighborhood around Centennial Park. What I started doing though was taking pictures of the other photographers who were so engaged in their surroundings.
I guess I keep coming back to people whenever I think about having the most fun with photography. These other photographers were just so engaged as they looked around downtown working so hard to get the shot. Plus, I thought it would be fun for others to see the photos of themselves – to be on the other side of the camera for once and see themselves in a photo.
The more we explored, we ran into the other side of downtown Atlanta – the large homeless population. Again, here is where my interest in people helped overcome any other reservations I had and which most of the other photographers had. This one gentleman was sitting on top of the newspaper machine and with his large beard I knew I had to walk up to him and ask him for a portrait.
The more we walked the more I started seeing things I never really saw before, even on the streets I walk every day to the train station. Really looking for the photo and exploring the area around me opened me up to a different part of the Fairlie-Poplar historic district. I swore I buildings that I passed every day and never knew existed, it was all very refreshing!
Walking around Woodruff Park I got my favorite shots of the day. I saw this man sitting over by the waterfalls that another photographer was also taking a photo of with his telephoto zoom lens from the side. Again this was one of those times when I knew I wanted the shot and well I would just have to ask for it and hope for the best. I approached the gentleman from a distance and sort of held up my camera as I walked closer, then within earshot asked if I could take his portrait. The man simply motioned me over with his hands and kept sitting there deep in thought, the perfect environmental portrait since his expression didn’t change and I was shooting from the fairly long distance of 200mm with my Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 VRII lens.
Some other technical aspects of these shots, I was shooting from a distance with the Nikon D700 and new 70-200mm f/2.8 VRII lens. Aperture priority mode, I cranked it up to f/5.6 to ensure I got the shot since I did not want to waste the gentleman’s time with a missed focus on the eyes if I was at f/2.8. Also, being an environmental portrait I also wanted the awesome waterfall behind him to show through and give some placement to the portrait. I quickly shot a few frames before thanking him for his time and moving on.
As I looked back I grabbed one last shot walking away, a wider side portrait showing him in his element. I left knowing that I might have been the only person in our group that actually walked up to him and got the shot I had envisioned.
Leaving Woodruff Park I also grabbed another favorite of a lady that Ken was talking with about what exactly all of these people with cameras were doing. Her fashion sense and strong colors made her another one of those “must get” photos of the day.
Things wrapped up rather quickly after this, heading back to Taco Mac at Phillips Plaza for a post-Worldwide Photowalk lunch. All in all I had a great time shooting with the Southeastern Photographic Society (SPS) and everyone else that came out to support Scott Kelby’s 3rd Annual Worldwide Photowalk. I hope all of the other walkers around the world got as much out of it as I did!
See the rest of the photos which were posted to Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/fenglong/sets/72157624573603024/