Brad Hartshorn generously offering his time and modelling skills to Paul’s photo challenge efforts. Paul Rodgers photo.

Reflections on the 24 Hour Photo Challenge

Paul Rodgers

Sometimes deciding to do something without really thinking it through first can yield some pretty surprising results.The 24 Hour Photo Challenge in Kimberley that took place this past weekend was a prime example of that notion.

It started when my girlfriend was hiking and met the organizer of this event, Natalie Skokan. After hearing about what she was planning, my significant other suggested that I sign up, thinking it would be a great chance for me to meet some creative Kootenay dwellers and experiment with some new photography techniques. I agreed.

Now, I agreed under two main assumptions — the first being that I had the Saturday afternoon to shoot, and the second that I had a mountain biker to model for me.

I attended a meeting about the event on Thursday, October 19 where I discovered to my dismay that the challenge was intended to run from midnight Thursday to midnight Friday. For some reason, I had thought that I would also have the Saturday morning and afternoon to shoot and edit.

Some other participants had the same concern, and it was decided that the event would be extended into a 36 hour challenge. That definitely helped, but then my initial photo subject had to drop out.

Because I don’t personally ride, or even own a mountain bike, I haven’t met a lot of people in the area who ride, and finding a backup was challenging. After a stressed-out call to my girlfriend to vent my concerns, and nearly dropping out, I decided to commit anyways.

My friend Brad’s father was coming to visit him from the States, but he very graciously agreed to help me out anyways and fill in as my model. He took me out to some trails and we got some shots, featuring the stunning larches that have taken over the scenery.

After that I set up my tripod and took some Halloween-themed self portraits. I’d hoped that another friend might be able to go out shooting the following day, but she was in Fernie. I decided that what I had would have to suffice, and after learning that there were a couple seasoned professional photographers participating in the challenge, I already knew that I wasn’t likely to win. It was the journey that was important at any rate, not the destination.

After frantically editing my photos and building my three minute presentation I submitted it. A bit late, mind you, but I submitted it.

The event itself was really amazing, especially considering how little time Natalie had to put it together, and how little time all the photographers had to make their slideshows. There was some absolutely incredible work presented to a full theatre of attendees.

I was truly inspired by participating in the challenge. It was an opportunity to go outside my comfort zone, doing something I’d never done before and shooting some more artistically-minded photos, or at least attempting to. If there is another similar challenge I will absolutely sign up, motivated by the mind-blowing amount of beautiful work I witnessed.

Most importantly, it was a chance for me to connect to a creative community in my new home, meet some new people and learn that committing to something I’m uncertain about can be a very enriching experience.


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