Walking in Marathoners’ Shoes

Posted by on July 4, 2011 at 2:22 pm.

I’ve always known that no matter how many 12×12 marathoners I spoke to, I’d never truly understand what it was like to walk a mile (or two or three!) in their shoes. That was why a week after last year’s cycle, I decided to tackle the challenge myself. My good friend & Zufaller Valerie McTavish had just recently gifted me her pristine Pentax K1000 and I couldn’t wait to snap my first shot. I announced my little adventure on Twitter, invited everyone to send me themes, and I had the most amazing fun with Morten in tow.

After a grueling day on the streets of downtown Vancouver, I had what I thought were 12 beautifully captured interpretations of the first 12 themes that were sent to me that morning. Beaming with pride, I pranced over to the London Drugs PhotoLab at Granville & Georgia with an excited anticipation I had not experienced in quite some time. But I fell off my cloud with a painful thud when I started winding back the film and felt no tension whatsoever. I could feel the blood drain from my face when I came to the realization that something had gone horribly wrong. I still clutched at a nugget of hope as I handed my roll of film to Shirley behind the counter but lost my grip when we soon found out that the roll had never even advanced to its first frame. I blinked. In that second I saw my entire day fast-backward as if it had never happened. It didn’t matter that my brain had turned to mush from brainstorming or that my feet had grown two sizes from pounding the pavement all day because I had nothing to show for it. Someone had brutally punched ‘Delete’ and everything was gone. I blinked again.

Now nearly a year later I can still feel the invisible scar left by that deterring first experience. No one will ever accuse me of not knowing what it’s like because those memories are seared into my brain. The thrilling highs and the horrible lows. Oh yes, I was seasoned and if you lent me your ear you’d probably never get it back.

The Canon A-1 in use circa 1981

I wasn’t sure I’d ever be able to commit myself to another full-day challenge. But then a couple of weeks ago I got an email from Christine Rondeau who had a gorgeous Canon A-1 kit to donate to 12×12 and I felt the pilot light ignite again. Look at this camera! Who could say no to this?! Its original owner (and Christine’s father) was kind enough to share a photo of himself at Belgium’s La Citadelle de Dinant circa 1981 with this historical gem, which has travelled all over Europe, South America, Australia, and on many, many camping trips. I was smitten.

On Canada Day, I loaded up all the gear and with great determination made my way back downtown for Round 2. Was I setting myself up for another KO? I put another call-out on Twitter, booted all my apprehensions to the curb and waited for another set of 12 themes. I hope you find some enjoyment in the results below!

Disclaimer: I am not by any means a photographer. Even in the old film days I just pointed and shot. You could aperture me and shutter speed me to death and my eyes would still be glazed over. I welcome any feedback or tips that you may have so feel free to start a discussion in the comments section!

If you want to experience the 2011 12×12 Vancouver Photo Marathon yourself, make sure you are in front of a computer by 8pm THIS Wednesday July 6th. ONLY 60 tickets will be released and you’ll need fast fingers if you want to secure your spot in this year’s marathon.

I look forward to meeting everyone on Saturday August 6th, 2011!

Theme 01: Snarky assigned by @jrphotographybc via Twitter

Theme 02: Monkeys assigned by @penguinstorm via Twitter

Theme 03: Racy assigned by @jonah_lewis via Twitter

Theme 04: Patriotic assigned by @jrphotographybc via Twitter

Theme 05: Ouch assigned by @jrphotographybc via Twitter

Theme 06: Red, White & Purple assigned by @jrphotographybc via Twitter

Theme 07: Something Old assigned by @jrphotographybc via Twitter

Theme 08: White Taxi Driver assigned by @jrphotographybc via Twitter

Theme 09: Oh Hai assigned by @jrphotographybc via Twitter

Theme 10: Urban Jungle assigned by @jrphotographybc via Twitter

Theme 11: Soft assigned by @365photos2011 via Twitter

Theme 12: Irreversible assigned by @AnnyChih via Twitter

Captured with the bonus frame on my 12EXP roll of film: Self Portrait


  • Vanessa says:

    Beautiful photos Ang! You’d never know that you were new to film because each of these shots are pretty perfect!

  • Phil says:

    my favourite is #8 🙂

  • Jonah Lewis says:

    Nice set Angela. You would be a worthy marathoner.

  • christine says:

    Whoohoo, glad to see the camera put to good use. Unfortunately, that’s not me in the picture though, that’s my sister. 🙂

    • Real Rondeau says:

      I remember an anecdote with this CAMERA in 1999.
      My wife and I had received a certificate for Christmas for a Hot Air Balloon trip in the Ottawa region. When the time came I was so nervous I almost cancelled our trip but we finally went and it was a beautiful experience. The next day I opened my camera and there was NO film in it. I then realized why I had managed to take 26 pictures with a 24 roll of film.

      • Angela says:

        Oh wow, if that camera could talk eh? Well, the images that we snap in our heads are often more stunning in a memory than on paper, especially when the shots are taken while doing something as amazing as hot air ballooning!

        Thank you so much for sharing Mr. Rondeau! 🙂

  • Oh, the grief I’ve caused you! Sorry! Glad you found another camera that worked better and produced such great (and creative) photos.

  • Angela says:

    LOL Oh Val, you didn’t cause me ANY grief. I adore your K1000!! It sits right by the door all set for an impromptu outing (no joke – that’s its permanent home). The great tragedy of 2010 was caused by 100% human error. Actually in a very special way, you’ve made me a better “photographer” 🙂

    Thank you for all the wonderful comments guys! You’re all such awesome creatives yourselves that it really boosts my ego.

  • Anny Chih says:

    #3 is the best. 🙂

  • Chrissy says:

    My heart hurt when I read this story!! I have had similar issues before, so I feel your pain. But your photos are absolutely gorgeous! Great job! #4 & #12 are my favs!

  • John Roberts says:

    Wow Angie, you did a great job of these. I love your take on some of the themes.

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