Thursday, June 27, 2013

Reflections on the Photo Walk at ISTE 13

The ISTE 2013 Photo Walk Sunday morning was enjoyed by 172 (or more) ISTE members. After a group photo at the convention center, the group walked to the Alamo where a second group photo was taken, making photos and connecting with other ISTE members on the way. After the group photo people broke into smaller groups and continued their photo walk, some staying around the Alamo and others headed for the Riverwalk. Some people headed back to the convention center for 8:30 am sessions.

Participants were encouraged to post their favorite photos to where you can view them. Participants were asked to give permission using Creative Commons so that educators and students could use them in their presentations, projects and reports.

Organized by ADEs (Apple Distinguished Educators) Larry Anderson, Gordon Worley, Cristina Popescu, Anna Adams, Helen Mowers, Michael Hernandez, Gayle Berthiaume and myself, this was the first time the ADE  event was opened to all ISTE members. Previous events have been held during ISTE in Washington D.C., Denver (Rocky Mountain National Park), Philadelphia and San Diego.

All the feedback we have received about this year's event was extremely positive, most coming in the form of verbal comments or via Twitter using the hashtag #iste13photo.

One group, including Larry Anderson, Nia Ujamaa, David Warlick, Carlos Austin, Tony Baldasaro and myself went until the afternoon, some of us making photos until 4 pm.

The concept behind the photo walk was to get ISTE members who have an interest in photography together to meet each other and share their passion and photography skills. Participants were helping each other with their camera features as well has ideas on photo composition, handling lighting conditions, etc. Everyone was encouraged to add their best photos to Flickr at

While at the Alamo several of us ended up give a short 10 minute presentation to a group of spectators after they noticed us using macro lenses attached to our iPhones to make a photo of a flower with a bee inside.

Tony Baldasaro, who had a Canon camera with a to-die-for telephoto lens, struck up a conversation with Larry and ended up joining our group as we were leaving the Alamo.

Carlos is a professional photographer from Austin, TX (yep, Carlos Austin from Austin) who drove to San Antonio just to join the Photo Walk. In another blog post I will talk about all we learned from Carlos, including how he used the iPad as his only camera on this photo walk. Tony mentioned that his wife was going to regret him joining our group as he made a list of all the new "stuff" he was planning to get for use with his iPhone and iPad.

Tuesday afternoon Larry and I presented to a packed breakout session about Photo Safaris and how they could be replicated to people's own cities, schools and classrooms. A photo safari is more structured than a photo walk, breaking people into smaller groups with a knowledgeable photographer in each group who can help others improve their skills. Several educators stopped afterwards to tell us how exited they were to get their own students interested in photography through the use of a photo walk or photo safari.

Larry has published a free e-book on how to organize your own photo safari. It can be downloaded by going to

If you will be at ISTE 2014 in Atlanta, consider participating in the photo walk Sunday morning. We have already started planning for it! Contact Larry or me and we will keep you posted as planning progresses.

Craig Nansen
@cnansen on Twitter

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