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Say Cheese: Photo Walkers Gear Up

Greg Roller

SULPHUR SPRINGS - Around the region, photography enthusiasts are gearing up for an annual photography event in Sulphur Springs.

The Sulphur Springs Photo Walk is part of a worldwide event held every year that began five years ago as the brainchild of Adobe Photoshop inventor Scott Kelby.

The Sulphur Springs event is led by Co-leaders Cindy Roller, editor of the Cooper Review, and Luis Noble, photo editor for the Sulphur Springs News-Telegram.

“This is our third year,” said Roller. “The initial idea was proposed by Billie Ruth Standbridge of the Downtown Business Alliance of Sulphur Springs. She approached Luis and myself in hopes we could make it happen.”

First, participants must register on the Worldwide Photo Walk’s website. The worldwide event takes place on the same day in cities all over the globe. This year’s event will be held on Oct. 13.

“After registering online at Scott Kelby's Worldwide Photo Walk, photographers are invited to meet on Saturday, Oct. 13, 2012 at 5:30 p.m., for a short briefing before walking a specific, take photos and then submit a limited selection of those photos to the contest,” explained Noble. “The walk is a group of photographers in a limited area (such as Sulphur Springs' downtown Square) with a limited amount of time producing the best images they possibly can.  It looks like a mob of paparazzi, but with each of the photographers focusing on a different subject. It's a really a blast.”

Walk leaders will offer advice and guidance to the photographers including advice from Mike Laeding of Sulphur Springs Photography.

“Photographers have the chance to visit with others with mutual interests, learn new aspects on cameras, lenses and much more and new angles on framing photos,” said Roller.

“People will get to compare notes with area photographers of all different levels of competency,” added Noble. “They can learn tips from each other and network a bit, but more importantly, the goal is to be creative and have fun with a group of people with the same passion for photography.”

Roller and Noble have selected the area for their photo walkers. They hope to provide great scenery for those who attend the event.

“The photo walk in Sulphur Springs is held in conjunction with the Sulphur Springs Downtown Business Alliance, which has given us a pass to roam around throughout the newly-revitalized downtown square, which features an astounding memorial for Hopkins County veterans,” noted Noble. “The walk will be held during the town's weekly farmers' market on the Square to give our walkers the most interesting subjects possible.”

Previous events have drawn photographers from all skill levels that were eager to learn and get an up close view of what the city had to offer. Roller said seeing different ages, levels and equipment at the event is a great experience.

“All ages and all types of shutterbugs have walked in prior events,” she said. “It makes the event even more enjoyable to see the different cameras toted by various levels of photographers.”

Noble said everyone should feel welcome and confident when attending the event.

“Anyone who is even marginally interested in photography is welcome to the event,” he said. “We have photographers of all skill sets come. People seem to worry that if their camera isn't an SLR or ‘fancy’ they won't be able to do this, and that is not true. One of last year's winners produced their image with a point-and-shoot camera. It's never about the camera; it's the artistic eye behind it that counts.”

Once the event is complete, photographers are encouraged to edit their image using Adobe Photoshop and submit it via the Worldwide Photo Walk website. A panel of local judges will review the photos, prizes are given out for the top three entries and the winning photo is submitted for judging at the worldwide level, where additional prizes are awarded.

Those interested in attending the event should register ahead of time (the Worldwide competition caps the number of participants, based on the number of photo leaders for each walk), and should bring some basic items.

“Any brand of camera – with multiple lenses and flash, if applicable – extra charged batteries and film or cards, walking shoes and comfortable clothing, a portable camera bag and a water, ” are good to have on hand, said Roller.

“But the best thing to bring is a lot of creativity,” added Noble.

Local photo walks are being added to the Worldwide site periodically, but the Sulphur Springs walk is one of the few held in Northeast Texas. Attendees do not have to live in Sulphur Springs or Hopkins County to participate in the free event. And don’t forget the great prizes in store for the top submissions on the local level.

More information about the Sulphur Springs event can be found on Facebook, by emailing ssphotowalks@gmail.com, contacting Roller at the Cooper Review at (903) 395-2175 or Noble at the Sulphur Springs News-Telegram at (903) 885-8663. More information about the Worldwide Photo Walk is available at www.worldwidephotowalk.com.