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Voluntography?

March 25, 2012

Photogeering?

Whatever you want to call it, I’ve embarked on a new adventure this month, called the Urban Exposure Project. This is an initiative put on by United Way Calgary’s BeCause umbrella (targeting people 20-40 – the “next generation”).

Why am I participating?

It combines two of my passions:

  • Volunteering – most of you know that I’m an avid volunteer, and have been since I was young. I’m currently actively volunteering with Calgary Stampede, PALS and Brown Bagging for Calgary’s Kids, but there’s a long legacy of organizations I’ve put my stamp on in the past
  • Photography – okay. Maybe putting this as a “passion” is a bit far-reaching, but I do enjoy getting out and taking pictures. Matt and I even took in a sunrise on a Sunday in February. But I just don’t get out enough. So I think being part of this project will encourage me to get out on my own (or in groups) to take some really compelling photos

Basically, there’s a theme for each year – ours is “Family.” We meet once a week (mandatory), plus optional photowalks, and visit different agencies that the United Way supports all over Calgary. We’ll be given the chance to take pictures at most facilities, though quite often not of the people themselves (for obvious reasons). The goal is to learn about and support fellow Calgarians while also exploring or advancing our photography skills. There are professional photogs who will be joining us and giving us tips throughout the program.

I’d heard about UEP last year, but it wasn’t the right time. We were in the midst of getting ready to launch a website at my job. I was training for a triathlon (oh, right, that). It just didn’t fit. But I’ve changed jobs (and love it), so things are a little calmer (right now). I’m going to get back into triathlon training (soon – like, tomorrow) but this time I can work my schedule around UEP instead of the other way around.

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So, stay tuned for some blog posts about my experiences. I’ll admit that I’ve shied away from the United Way in the past due to things I’d heard, but from the sounds of it, it’s a pretty solid organization. Had my orientation last night and I already learned a lot. I’m excited to visit different agencies and learn about what they’re doing for Calgarians. And to learn to use my new camera (oh, did I not mention I _finally_ purchased a Nikon D5100 of my own?).

Almost forgot: The best (scariest) part? At the end of the project, likely the end of June or first week of July, we each pick our favourite photos and put on an exhibit. It will be open to the public, so I’ll post the final date/time/location later (maybe). The exhibit will belong to the United Way and travel around to different events throughout the city for the next year or so. I won’t show my photos to anyone after a shoot, so the thought of this is pretty terrifying for me. But I have months before I have to worry about it, right??

Here goes nothing.

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