Fresh Eyes, Fresh Spaces: A DSLR PhotoWalk

Eight intrepid explorers gathered together during Spring Holiday 2014 on a beautiful Friday afternoon with a mission in mind. We set out to explore the southern reaches of NC State’s Centennial Campus with DSLR cameras in hand. Our goal was to find what was strange, beautiful, and interesting and take pictures. In the end, we came, we saw, and we captured!

How It Got Started

The NCSU Libraries’ Creative Media Workshops are designed with the idea of introducing students, faculty, and staff to the wonderful treasure trove of technological resources available through the NCSU Libraries.

We offer three digital photography workshops as part of an ongoing Photography Workshop series. These classes are an extension of the Libraries’ Technology Lending Service. The first two in the series were presented multiple times across both the Fall 2013 and Spring 2014 semesters. They focused on the technical aspects of using DSLR cameras and the aesthetic principles behind composing a good picture.

Because of successful past PhotoWalks that had been sponsored through the NCSU Libraries, it was suggested that perhaps a PhotoWalk would be a solid addition to this new series of workshops. The Fresh Eyes, Fresh Spaces: Spring 2014 PhotoWalk was a natural and necessary culmination to our Creative Media Photography Workshop series for the 2013-2014 academic year.

What Happened

On April 18, 2014, eight participants set out from James B. Hunt Jr. Library on a visual exploration of the southernmost areas of Centennial Campus. Our group was an interesting mix of graduate and undergraduate students, NC State staff, NCSU Libraries’ staff, long-time North Carolinians , and international students—all, however, were photography enthusiasts. The event was a leisurely three-hour session, which gave us the opportunity to walk, talk, and share the experience.

The spaces that we trekked included the green commons of the Oval, the shoreline of Lake Raleigh, the College of Textiles Courtyards and Plaza, and finally, the paths leading to the student-run organic SOUL garden.

At the conclusion of our day together, we all reconvened in the FishBowl Seminar Room in Hunt Library, where everyone’s photographs were collected for sharing and display on a future date.

Literally, thousands of photos were taken by the group collectively. Of those, a select group of 31 images were chosen and exhibited on the 3rd floor Hunt Library Commons Wall as part of a two-week showcase which lasted from October 20, 2014 through November 2, 2014.

How It Went

Our PhotoWalk took place on a slightly overcast day, which presented us with the ideal lighting conditions for our picture-taking. It also made for a pretty temperate day, perfect for lots of walking around. We followed a pre-planned route mainly restricted to areas within close range of the James B. Hunt, Jr. Library on Centennial Campus.

Participants were enthusiastic and engaged throughout the activity. At the conclusion of the session, they provided valuable feedback. Several individuals commented that they enjoyed the experience, found it worthwhile, and would definitely like to repeat it in the future, if the library offered other similar sessions again. Some of the suggestions we received included having more PhotoWalks over the course of the academic year, having themed PhotoWalks focused on topics such as architecture or “Golden Hour” photography. A few participants even wanted the NCSU Libraries to establish a formal photography club for students.

Spring Tree

While there were a few things that we learned that we will use to tweak and improve future PhotoWalk workshops, overall the Spring 2014 PhotoWalk was a successful venture. It met several of the goals that we set out to accomplish when we first planned it. Ultimately, the PhotoWalk resulted in increased visibility for the NCSU Libraries’ DSLR Camera lending program among our users and staff. It also sparked interest among our regular DSLR equipment borrowers in all of the workshops and events hosted by the NCSU Libraries across the board, not just the photography ones. We were able to reinforce and deepen the Libraries’ involvement and relationship with student users. Finally, the Creative Media Photography Workshop series was given a significant boost from this added component. Fresh Eyes, Fresh Spaces brought fresh air to NCSU Libraries’ technology lending.