Thursday, June 18, 2009

No-Rules Rules for New Shooters - Please Read...

I used this photo of teachers working outside our elementary school on teacher's work day, because teachers "teach", and this is the place to learn about our weekly shoot outs.

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WHY this blog for a blog? I get emails about how to join our town shoot out. People also want to know the rules, and I get other questions which points to a little confusion about who, what, when, and where. Also, those who participant, sometimes don't know where to find the weekly assignments without having to run around and play catch up after a busy few days or week. We have all been there. So I thought I would set up this blog to give you important information about the shoot out.

I will not post anything on this blog except information and links to everyone who participates in our weekly shoot outs. If you bookmark this site you can just run over and see what's doing whenever you want.

We have some bloggers who have come and gone. I will keep a running list of those who are active only, meaning if they don’t post for some time they will be dropped from the list. Some people have posted once or twice, and don't come back. I will try to keep the list current.

We all have things that come up, and with summer here we get busy, and then there are vacations. We know who the true-blue shoot out members are, so they don't have to worry. We know they will be back. So if you go to some one's blog who is a listed participant, and do not find their Friday shoot out, please take time to enjoy their blog, leave a post, and go back the next week.

THE rules: Simply put, we don't have any rules, except that we ask that you keep it clean. We improvise. We play. We have fun. And everyone's interpretations of the assignments are different. That is what makes it interesting. Just remember it is about showing off your town.

ASSIGNMENTS: At first, there was only Reggie Girl and me (story later). I picked an assignment one week, and then Reggie Girl picked one the next week. Other people soon joined in on our shoot outs (Barry was one of the first - talk about true-blue!). We eventually decided to let others join in on picking assignments. It was only fair. Once it got confusing, we started putting participant's names in a hat or bowl, or whatever we had handy. I pick a name one week and Reggie Girl picks a name the next week. This is the place to find out if you are next in line!

Once the hat or bowl is empty, we start over again.

Oh, I have to backtrack on my "no rules" rule. We do have two important, but simple rules. When choosing an assignment, remember to keep it generic. For instance, I live on the bay, but I can't hand out an assignment for boaters and boats because everyone does not live near the water. Someone mentioned bridges once. A great idea, but a lot of small towns don’t have bridges. When your name is pulled from the hat, just think of things that everyone has in their towns or cities.

The second rule: Please label post, "Friday My Town Shoot Out" or Friday Town Shoot Out - Gardens (or whatever our assignment is for the week). We are all busy, and our list of shooters is growing. We sometimes can't visit everyone on the same day. It helps to be able to go back and quickly find our shooters by looking for the title. I like to take my time looking at what everyone has, and sometimes it takes a few days to get to everyone. I think that is only fair, because it takes a lot of time to shoot an assignment, and if people expend a lot of effort, I feel I should not rush through their blogs. I may leave a shot post, but believe me, I look at, and study all the photos, because as a photographer, I am fascinated by photos.

How many photos should I post? One, two, twenty - it doesn't matter. Sometimes we don't have time to run around and shoot a bunch of photos. Sometimes we do. Some people like to do videos and slide shows. Don't feel pressured. This is not about competition. It is about participation. So if all you can squeeze in is one photo, go for it. It also keeps you on our blog roll.

Also, some people get intimidated when they see professional photos. We have both amateurs and professional shooters. Please don't be intimidated. Some of my favored photos have been a little blurred or not properly composed from a professional's point of view. I was looking at a recent photo that was taken by an amateur (I won't say who it was) but it was a wonderful photo. A little blurred, not well composed, but he/she told the story in one photo, and I loved it. Unless you are shooting for National Geographic, as long as you get that story in the photo, you have done well. Some AP photographers (I used to work for AP) have taken some out of focus photos that made the news, simple because they turned around and saw something, and had no time to make adjustments. They got the story with one click, though. Everyone likes to see what is on the other side of the fence, so shoot like a child and enjoy, BTW: Children take some great photos because they are not afraid to make mistakes.

WHAT made you start the shoot outs and how is it growing? I met Reggie Girl on a Georgia blog (I am from Georgia) and we started the town shoot out last winter. It was a little fun game we had between ourselves, showing off our towns and playing with our cameras.

Barry joined in, and then Loida (Loida has been moving from China to Ontario for the past several weeks - she will be back), and J9, Jen, and Butler and Bagman, Missy, and before we knew it we had ourselves a gang of shooters wanting to show off their towns and cities, not to mention their photography skills.

What makes the shoot out unique? People who love where they live enjoy showing off what their cities and towns have to offer. What better way to do it than to introduce the world to your little corner of the world? I love being able to visit Alaska one moment and the Philippines the next, all with the click of a mouse.

People who view your town photos will get to see your town through your eyes. Much better than a glossy brochure that has pretty photos but no "home town" feel to it. It also gives people an idea of things to see and do if they visit your town. Locals know all the best restaurants and cool places off the beaten trails. And of course, it gives you vacation ideas. And what better way to travel around the world without spending a dime?

Those who don't like where they live might even think about moving to your part of the world.

Plus, we just know that Oprah is going to discover us. We are talking "big party." Right, Reggie Girl?

And you also get to join a gang!



If anyone has any questions, shoot an email to one of our team members.