In a couple of weeks on October 13th, Scott Kelby set the date for his 5th annual World Wide Photo Walk.  Now some of you may be wondering what a photo walk is and what this has to do with today’s posting! Well read on, all will be reviled.

Firstly let me explain what a  photo walk is.  The premise is pretty simple, a number of people get together with cameras and follow a set walk and take photographs.  The walk ends at a restaurant or cafe and people share their pictures and discuss the walk.  It’s basically a social event and anyone can join – it’s also free.  You don’t have to be a professional or even have an expensive camera, you just join others for a couple of hours and capture some shots.  Scott ran one in his home town of Tampa in Florida and the had so much fun he set up a date for people to do it all over the world.  Right now there are 24,000 people taking part in 1200 cities around the world.

Anyway I really wanted to go on a walk and went online to find a local one.  There were two in Seattle but I really wanted to do something in my own city of Redmond but there weren’t any set up.  So I applied to be a leader and my application was accepted on Friday.  Now I had an idea of what walk I wanted to do, something with a bit of downtown shops and a little bit of park and even found a place to finish the walk, but still had some organizing to do.

I went to the restaurant I wanted to end up at and spoke to the manager there – now he’s really excited that we will turn up on a Saturday afternoon with hopefully a load of people.  I spoke to the Police and the security company who work in Redmond Town Center and got everything sorted there, and yesterday I walked the photo walk route and captured some shots.  I wanted to make sure the walk was long enough and there was enough interesting things to shoot.

My Walk is just over a mile long and if you’re taking pictures along the way will take around 2 hours to complete, and we end up at Redmond’s Bar and Grill at noon for lunch.  So I’m totally set.  So I published the walk online and people have started to sign up.  I’m allowed a total of 50 people, right now I have 4!  But I’m guessing it’s early days.

Yesterday Abi joined me on the walk helping me look for different things to shoot.  We found loads of subjects and I took tuns of images.  At one location we found this bright orange wall and she posed against if for a shot, and this is the image I’m posting for today.  We had a lot of fun and I’m really looking forward to the real walk.  I’ll post what happens here on the 14th.

If you want learn more or join us on the walk here is the link to the site: Redmond Photo Walk.

Carter and Master Chief’s Girl Scout Badges finally arrived for all the cookies they sold (and ate), they couldn’t agree however who should have which badge!

Just under Pike Place Market on Post Alley is the Seattle Gum wall.  The wall is outside the Market Theater and back in 1993 people in line for the theater started sticking gum to the wall just before they went inside.  Initially some used to stick gum to the wall and place a coin in the gum too (I have no idea why you would do this but that’s what they did).  Anyway the theater were pretty cross and would come outside the follow day and scrape all the gum off the wall.  This was clearly seen as a “challenge” to the people of Seattle who really went for it and covered the wall with more.  Eventually (after numerous clean ups) the theater gave up and the cite accepted the wall as a (rather discussing) tourist attraction.

The wall itself is pretty big and covers around 30 square feet.  You would be amazed just how much gum is on the wall and how high people get it!  Every now and then the city comes round and cleans up the very bottom of the wall and of course the floor where all the gum falls off.  But the leave the majority of the gum there.

The wall is a very popular location for wedding photographers (every brides dream I should imagine to get photographed here), also it’s common to see “I love you” or signs  like “Julie will you go to the prom with me”? All spelt out in gum!  So the wall looks cool (I think) and is kind-a fun, except for the smell, which is horrible.  It just smells of sticky sweet candy and really isn’t very nice at all.

However, on the other side of the Alley, the city has decreed that no gum is allowed, they even have signs saying “No Gum”.  Again, another challenge for the city residents.  They of course cover this wall with gum too and decorate the “No Gum” sign for the city too (which is nice of them I think).  Every week the city cleans the wall and the residents of the Seattle start again.

I couldn’t resist this side, I think it’s funny that it’s covered with gum too and had to get a shot.  Maybe there’s a little rebel in me too!

Now I have no idea what Orbeez are, but they start really small and grow when they are put into water.  Needless to say, Master Chief and Carter decided to make some toeday.

I don’t know if you have been to Pike Place Market on a Saturday afternoon, if you haven’t let me tell you it’s rather crowded.  The market itself is pretty large and mostly under cover with stores on both sides of the walkway.  Trying to walk down the walkway is pretty difficult, you spend a lot of time bumping into people, getting stepped on or being pushed. So imagine what it’s like trying to take some pictures in that kind of environment!  It’s pretty difficult.

We were in there trying to shoot some flowers and fruit.  The market sellers don’t really mind photographers there, I guess it kind of goes with the territory, I mean when your store is in a major tourist attraction you gotta expect pictures.  As long as you don’t get in the way of purchasing customers they are fine.

Anyway, we saw these sunflowers that were just under some tungsten lights and were totally of back lit – so the petals looked almost orange.  So I “eased” my way forward and shot off some frames and got the image below.  Now those of you who visit my blog know I don’t shy away from photoshop.  But this image is directly out of the camera.  I didn’t do a thing.  Check out the petals across the top of the flower, you can see that they’re back lit as the middle at the front is slightly darker than the outer (thinner) edges.

I loved the narrow depth of field in the image, the way the background is out of focus keeps you looking the foreground flower.

Master Chief and Carter had a bet tonight to see if a small flashlight would power a solar powered flower toy.  It did.  Master Chief won.

On Saturday on the Seattle photo walk we visited Seattle’s Art Museum (or SAM).  Outside the museum they have a large Hammering Man moving sculpture.

This 48 foot sculpture was made out of steel and aluminium and has a motorized arm that moves up and down.  The arm is holding a large hammer, hence it’s name, the “Hammering Man”.  It was erected in 1992 and built by artist Jonathan Borofsky.  There are several Hammering Man sculptures around the world, ours is one of the largest.  The arm hammers from 7am to 8pm every day and takes one day off a year, Labor Day.  The statue is suposed to represent the working man so I guess taking Labour Day off makes sense.

When we got to the museum our guide (Chandler) gave us a challenge.  He said that he comes here quite a lot with different photography parties and always see’s the same images. So our chalenge was to try and capture the sculpture from a different perspective, something Chandler hasn’t seen before.  So for the next 15 minutes we tried everything, walking around the sculpture, shooting from under trees, from behind bus shelters, I’m sure you get the picture.

Anyway I took loads of pictures and in the end found this composition.  Below and some distance from the sculpture is a street lamp.  By lying on the floor (nearly) and looking up (at a certain angle) I got this picture so it looks like the Hammering Man is hitting the light.  Yes I know it’s not brilliant, and according to Chandler it’s not original either.  But it was the best shot I got.  He did say it was the best version he of this he’d seen, but I have no doubt he says that to everyone.

So here is my “original” Hammering Man image, with him bashing the crap out of a street light – what a vandal.

Today we were discussing what would happen if we had a flood, Carter explained that he had a plan and got one of James’ size 13 shoes!  Not sure I’ll fit but the Halo dudes are certainly going to be ok!

While on the photo walk in Seattle this weekend I captured this picture in Post Alley just behind Pike Place Market.  I loved the composition but there were quite a few things wrong with it and I started making changes.  I like the end result but it’s totally fake – I do love Photoshop.

So what was wrong with it, what did I do?  Well firstly the sky was a horrible drab grey color.  It wasn’t white just dirty!  So I grabbed some sky from a shot I took over Lake Mead in Nevada.  The sky was a little too blue so I had to lighten it a little for image.  Then there was the Post Alley sign.  Only the word Post was lit up, Alley was broken.  So I fixed that too.  Then there was wall around the Dead End sign.  The wall is basically cement, and looked flat and boring, so I changed that to make it pop a little.  Then there were the bricks on the other side of the road, I made them redder and sharper and did the same for the cobble stones on the road.  The end result is the image below.

I know what you’re thinking, now you know what I did you can “see it all” and I’ve probably ruined it for you.  The end result is I probably spent too much time on this and arguable over processed it.  But I had fun doing it so what the heck!

What I really liked about this image was the composition.  A normal shot of the Alley wouldn’t have looked anywhere near as nice.  This one came out really well.  I should say a big thank you here to Chandler who came up with the idea for the shot (can’t really take credit for that).

Update 9/27: Someone asked me what the original image looked like, so I added it to the post.  Just hold the mouse over the image to see what I started with.

Master Chief found a jar of Maraschino Cherry’s and went a bit nuts tonight.  Abi won’t be happy when she get’s in these are hers!