Sometimes I feel like I get in a photographic rut – stuck on the same subjects, the same compositions. I need to refresh my creative, photographic juices. One way to do this is to take on a series of topics you might not otherwise and to look for new perspectives. That is the motivation behind a photographic scavenger hunt – shoot a list of topics in a limited amount of time trying to come up with fresh new interpretations. I have blogged about scavenger hunts before (here and here), and that is my subject again today.
Yesterday I organized a scavenger hunt along the Gig Harbor waterfront for my two local photography club: Sound Exposure and the Tacoma Mountaineers. I’ve organized a scavenger hunt for one or the other of these groups for about four years now. I love doing scavenger hunts because they are a great learning tool for photographers of all skill levels. They force a photography to challenge themselves, to look beyond what they normally photography.
If you are in a club doesn’t have a scavenger hunt, you may want to suggest one. They are really a fun learning experience. But you don’t have to be in a club to do a scavenger hunt. You can do one all by yourself or with a couple of friends. First pick a place and time. Your time should be limited to about 4 hours or less – long enough to shoot all your subjects, but short enough to put a bit or pressure on yourself to get “good” shots of all the subjects. Develop a list of 20 to 24 subjects, and go shoot!
Here’s a list of subjects from the scavenger hunt I ran yesterday. You could apply most of these to your own scavenger hunt.
- Odd Number
- Break the Rule of Thirds
- Stop Action
- the “Perfect” Photograph
- Photographer’s Choice
- Self Portrait
Although I didn’t participate in the scavenger hunt because I was the organizer, I did take a few photos to help illustrate for this post. If you want more some more advise on how to run and organize a scavenger hunt, send me an email.
Go ahead – challenge yourself and do a scavenger hunt. Have fun!!!
Over the past couple weekends, I’ve led two photo scavenger hunts. Participants in the hunts had 3 hours to photograph a list of 20 topics, such as: color, contrast, bark, soft, old, action, life, and ugly. The area I chose for the hunts was the Old Town portion of the Tacoma waterfront because of the wide range of possible photographic subjects (and, quite frankly, the nearness to my house). I think all the participants would agree, it was a fun time. Because there were two hunts, for two different clubs, and a few people members of both clubs, I made two separate lists with only a couple topics repeated on both lists.
Doing a scavenger hunt is a great way to push your photographic vision, to force yourself to think outside your normal “box.” Want to give it a try? Here’s a list of my favorite topics compiled from the two different lists I used over the past two weekends (minus topics specific to the place). Go someplace you think might have good photographic opportunities, give yourself 3 hours, and try to get a good image of everything on the list. Try for something different from your normal routine shot, be creative and push the envelope!
I’d love to see some of your results or hear your thoughts on whether this is a worthy exercise. Send me some of your results, and I’ll post them in my blog.
Here’s the list:
- time (many people in the hunts I led photographed a watch or clock; try to think a bit more creatively and make a photograph that shows time itself)
- person/people (try to make it someone you don’t know)
- contrast (many options here, contrast between objects, contrast between light and dark, etc.)
- negative space
- autumn (if in the southern hemisphere, substitute spring)
- photographer’s choice (photograph anything you want)
To give a bit of inspiration, here are a few of my shots for the above topics. (Disclaimer: for the actual scavenger hunts, participants are required to take jpegs, so the images submitted have no post-processing. The images below have undergone post-processing with Lightroom 5).
A couple of weeks ago, I participated in a “scavenger hunt” with the Sound Exposure Photo Club (of which I am a member). I thought I’d post about this event to give readers a break from my series about my trip to the Southwest.
Photographers participating in the scavenger hunt receive a list of 20 items or themes and must take photos of each within a four-hour window. This is an annual event with Sound Exposure. Themes on the list sometimes leave a bit of interpretation to the photographer. Included on the list this year were: texture, color, near and far, close up, symmetry, and abstract. This year’s event was held at Uptown Center in Gig Harbor, Washington.
Uptown Center is a shopping center; and to tell the truth, when I first heard that was the location of the scavenger hunt this year, I wasn’t overly excited. I felt a shopping center wouldn’t have a lot to get my creative juices flowing. However, it actually wasn’t a bad spot to have the event; and once I started looking around with the list in hand, I got into the swing of it.
You can shoot as many images as you want for the event, but only turn in one per theme. Only jpegs could be turned in. I set my camera to RAW+jpeg, and turned in the jpegs. The photos accompanying this post are the RAW versions processed in Lightroom similar to how the camera processed the jpegs (as I stated before in a previous post, I think I can do a better job of processing than the camera does; however, if shown here as black and white or sepia, the jpeg was as well).
The club will show the images taken at the scavenger hunt at our next club meeting (in November). Members attending will vote on which images they like best, taking into account what theme the image are suppose to represent. Each participating photographers votes are counted, and winners announced in December. How well do you think I represented the themes on these accompanying photographs? Would you vote for them?