Neil Zeller 2014 Photowalk

Calgary photographer Neil Zeller hosted his second annual photowalk earlier this month.* Neil invited everyone from the Beakerhead Photography Team to join his walk and lend a helping hand to other participants when/if/as needed.

Photowalk participants make their way along the Bow River pathway north of downtown Calgary.
Photowalk participants make their way along the Bow River pathway north of downtown Calgary.
Since I’d never done a group photowalk before, I wasn’t sure what to expect. In fact, I was a little concerned about how challenging composition might be with more than 70 participants jostling for position.

There was one point in the evening when I found myself getting a little frustrated because people kept walking into my shot. But then I realized I was thinking about things from the wrong perspective. I needed to think “event photography”, not “landscape photography” and find ways to include participants in my images!

Here’s a list of everything that was special about the event:

  1. It coincided with Neil’s birthday (or at least within a day or two of Neil’s birthday). What better way for a photographer to celebrate a birthday than by taking photographs with a bunch of other photographers?!
  2. It was a mini-reunion for the Beakerhead Photography Team.
  3. The walk started and ended at the Peace Bridge, a favourite downtown Calgary photography location.
  4. Neil arranged for some special guests to add a unique element to the photowalk: the Beakerhead astronaut (Steve from Rocket House) and several members of the Calgary Steampunk Society (I hope I have their group name right).
  5. The scheduled time allowed for golden hour, sunset and night photography.
  6. The route for the photowalk included Calgary’s Poppy Plaza. It’s visually striking after dark!

I consider these to be some of my best images from the walk…

I parked in the public lot adjacent to the Outdoor Resource Centre (located in the old fire hall at the NW corner of Memorial Drive and 10th Street NW). This is a convenient and inexpensive parking location if you’d like to photograph Poppy Plaza after dark. And with Remembrance Day coming up and last week’s tragic events in Quebec and Montreal, it seems an ideal time to spend some contemplative moments at this striking “Landscape of Memory”.

The downside to parking where I did is that I didn’t make the return walk to photograph the Peace Bridge after dark. Which is actually okay, since it gives me a good reason to get out and do some night photography again soon.

* In fact, the Neil Zeller photowalk was the same day as the Scott Kelby Worldwide Photowalk, but was not part of the worldwide photowalk. There was one Calgary photowalk listed among the more than one thousand registered photowalks that took place around the world. And – coincidentally – it included the Peace Bridge and Poppy Plaza, just a little earlier in the day.

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