Immersing Yourself in a Photo Rally for Team Bonding & Creative Fun​​​​​​​
The Hornsby Heights Camera Club that I belong to recently organised a photo rally. It is an annual social event at our club that challenges people to think on their feet and shoot on the day. We look forward to this event with great anticipation as it is a lovely mix of socialisation as well as time alone with our cameras. 
The Photo Rally is usually held on a Saturday and is part of our annual calendar of events. The location of the shoot, however, is usually decided by the Events Co-ordinator or the Secretary of the club with the rest of the participants kept in the dark till the day before. The location is usually accessible by train, but we have been caught out a few times with track work at the weekend requiring us to either take a bus or carpool—all part of the fun of the day. 
We start the day with a coffee where the challenge for the day is shared around by the person who is organising the event. This year our photo rally was held in the Barangaroo, Rocks and Darling Harbour area. As we sipped our morning coffees and exchanged news, a map with the area we were shooting within clearly demarcated, was shared around. 
While most of us shoot on the day, there is a two-week time limit within which the images can be taken for those who can’t make it and for those who wish to return to the area. I’ve never gone back for a photo rally as I love the personal challenge of shooting on the day which forces me to be more attentive to the world around me. The photo rally is also a chance for me to enjoy some alone time away from my familiar surroundings, while getting lost with my camera with breaks for lunch and some of the best gelato this city has to offer.  
This year the challenge posed included an ‘open’ category as well as categories in ‘lines/curves’, ‘reflections’, ‘street photography’ and ‘looking up’. The images could be colour or black and white, with no restrictions on editing. While you were welcome to enter images in every category, only one image could be entered in each. 
It was freezing cold on the day that we met but at least the sun was peeking through with the promise of warmer weather later. Sydney has been deluged by wet weather, so we were fortunate to have picked a day that turned out to be perfect. 
I chose to start my day in Barangaroo where there was already a bit of excitement with a weekend festival and a few street performers. Images for the categories of ‘lines/curves’, ‘looking up’ and ‘reflections’ were easily found as the area is ringed with tall reflective buildings. Street photography was a little more challenging in the busy streets where there were quite a few people milling around given it was a weekend. 
I am often reminded of the French humanist photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson when I am engaged in Street Photography. He made the concept of the ‘Decisive Moment’ a household word for us. I am sure his art training informed the paradigm shift he brought to photography, and I’ve read that the surrealist movement founded around that time was a catalyst for this. The decisive moment is all about capturing a fleeting and spontaneous moment, recording the essence of life for posterity. I do my best to look for emotive and interactive moments that would make my images more interesting. 
The images we took on the day will be judged at one of our club events with the feedback taken on board for next year. As this is a fun event, we will be awarding first, second and third places with possibly little gifts for the winners but no points toward the end of year trophy. The day ends with us gathering at a local pub for a drink. We are all a little tired but happy that we spent an entire day engaged in a pursuit we are all passionate about with our fellow club mates. 
I hope that by sharing this, it might help motivate and inspire your own photographic activities in your local club. 
“You just have to live and life will give you pictures.” – Henri Cartier-Bresson
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