Photo Walks – A Great Way to Improve Your Photography

Hi everyone! Well, I did something I’ve heard about for a long time but have have never done. I attended my first photo walk yesterday, and let me tell you. I wish I had gone to one sooner. I was always nervous to join a club or go on a walk because I feared that everyone would be in competition with each other. You know, wondering who was the best photographer, who had the best camera and things like that. Well, that was not the case at all.

My friend, Rich, told me about a Meetup, or photo walk, that the MID-CT Photography Meetup Group was having at Bushnell Park in Hartford and asked if I wanted to go. Bushnell Park is Hartford’s version of Central Park in New York City and has lots of statues, views of the buildings and activities to photograph. Alone, I wouldn’t have gone, but with his encouragement, it sounded fun.

When we arrived, we immediately met up with others and began talking. I used to geocache, and it was a very similar experience to that. You may not know everyone, but because you share the same hobby, there’s an instant connection.

After talking for awhile we headed out and started taking photos. I was on my own for awhile and with Rich some of the time. The park is relatively small, so every 15 or 20 minutes, we’d pass someone with a camera and stop and talk for a bit. It was neat because when you’d pass someone, you’d share ideas and point out things to photograph. “Did you see the hawk over there?” “No, but I’ll check it out. Did you go to the capitol yet? It has some amazing detail in the stone work…” Things like that, and it was cool.

The Pond at Bushnell Park
The Pond at Bushnell Park

For example, the location shown in the photo on the right was a very popular spot. The sculpture, the buildings and the pond attracted everyone’s attention, and while I’m happy with my photo, it was great to see how everyone else shot the scene. One photo was a black and white closeup of the sculpture, and another was taken late in the evening with the glow of the building and park lights reflecting off the pond. Some were shot horizontal and others vertical, and seeing all these photos gave me ideas for future shoots, not to copy them, but to learn from and push me to try different things.

So, even though I was reluctant to ever go on a photo walk, I’m so happy I did. Not only was everyone friendly, but they were also willing to share their tips and explain why they like to do certain things, which is totally not what I expected. Because of my positive experience, I plan to go to more of these, and I’d encourage other photographers who may be on the fence to give it a try. The Meetup site is a great place to start, and if there’s nothing in your area, check with a local camera store. They may host their own get togethers or have info on some in the area.

If you have any questions about Meetups or photo walks, please let me know, or if you’re in the Connecticut area and would like to learn more about the MID-CT Photography Meetup Group, they would love to hear from you.