2011 Audience Picks

Posted by on October 3, 2011 at 8:41 am.

Attendees of Raw Talent 2011: The Third Annual 12×12 Vancouver Photo Marathon Exhibit were given the chance to fill out ballots to cast votes for their favourite photos. Here are the results from the tally.

Audience Pick for Best Series: #39 Kenny Louie

Audience Pick for Best Series Runner-Up: #46 Eric Tong

Audience Pick for Best Photo:
#56 Ryan Mah for Theme #11 (Not for Sale)

Audience Pick for Best Photo Runner-Up:
#40 Michael Lawrence for Theme #09 (Take it to the Grave)

Audience Pick for Individual Themes:

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Theme 01 (My Entry Number + Different Angle): #08 Yvonne Fong

Theme 02 (The Usual Suspects): #40 Michael Lawrence

Theme 03 (Human Nature): #39 Kenny Louie

Theme 04 (Reliable): #50 Shannon Leonard

Theme 05 (My Greatest Wish): #08 Yvonne Fong

Theme 06 (Odour): #56 Ryan Mah

Theme 07 (Echo): #47 Kathy Booth

Theme 08 (Trapped): #08 Yvonne Fong

Theme 09 (Take it to the Grave): #40 Michael Lawrence

Theme 10 (Second Chance): #53 Ian Kerr

Theme 11 (Not for Sale): #56 Ryan Mah

Theme 12 (Expectation): #39 Kenny Louie

2011 Winning Photos

Posted by on October 2, 2011 at 11:42 pm.

Updated: 11.10.03 at 4:07PM

60 marathoners registered for the third annual 12×12 Vancouver Photo Marathon and all 60 handed in their 12exp 35mm rolls by 10pm on Saturday August 6th, 2011. From the 720 photos that we had developed, our judges selected winners for Best Series and Best Photo, along with Runner-Ups for both categories, and 1 winner for each of the 12 themes. Here are the results that were revealed at Raw Talent 2011 on Sunday September 25th:

2011 12x12 winners (L-R): Eric Bucad (#11), Ryan Mah (#56), Ayoe for Bob Lai (#01), Sophia Knowles (#33), Ian Kerr (#53), Allison McDougall (#58), Michael Lawrence (#40), and Kenny Louie (#39).
Missing: Mariette Baynton (#15), Caitlin Bridger (#22), and Ryan Marchant (#21).

Best Series: #33 Sophia Knowles

Best Series Runner-Up: #01 Bob Lai

Best Photo:
#33 Sophia Knowles for Theme #10 (Second Chance)

Best Photo Runner-Up:
#56 Ryan Mah for Theme #08 (Trapped)

Individual Theme Winners:

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Theme 01 (My Entry Number + Different Angle): #53 Ian Kerr

Theme 02 (The Usual Suspects): #40 Michael Lawrence

Theme 03 (Human Nature): #22 Caitlin Bridger

Theme 04 (Reliable): #58 Allison McDougall

Theme 05 (My Greatest Wish): #01 Bob Lai

Theme 06 (Odour): #56 Ryan Mah

Theme 07 (Echo): #21 Ryan Marchant

Theme 08 (Trapped): #15 Mariette Baynton

Theme 09 (Take it to the Grave): #40 Michael Lawrence

Theme 10 (Second Chance): #11 Eric Bucad

Theme 11 (Not for Sale): #56 Ryan Mah

Theme 12 (Expectation): #39 Kenny Louie


Marathoners Who Were Also in the Running:

For Best Series:

#08 Yvonne Fong & #39 Kenny Louie

For Best Series Runner-Up:

#50 Shannon Leonard & #53 Ian Kerr

For Best Photo:

#53 Ian Kerr for Theme 10: Second Chance & #01 Bob Lai for Theme 07: Echo

For Best Photo Runner-Up:

#15 Mariette Baynton for Theme 08: Trapped & #51 Irvine Chow for Theme 02: The Usual Suspects

For Theme 01: My Entry Number + Different Angle

#57 Michael Burns & #13 Val Chirkov

For Theme 02: The Usual Suspects

#23 Craig Sinclair & #51 Irvine Chow

For Theme 03: Human Nature

#07 Chrissy Davey & #21 Ryan Marchant

For Theme 04: Reliable

#13 Val Chirkov & #32 Ruwan Fernando

For Theme 05: My Greatest Wish

#08 Yvonne Fong & #50 Shannon Leonard

For Theme 06: Odour

#47 Kathy Booth & #43 Martha McKenzie

For Theme 07: Echo

#01 Bob Lai

For Theme 08: Trapped

#56 Ryan Mah & #20 Sam Chua

For Theme 09: Take it to the Grave

#50 Shannon Leonard & #01 Bob Lai

For Theme 10: Second Chance

#53 Ian Kerr & 33 Sophia Knowles

For Theme 11: Not for Sale

None. #56 Ryan Mah’s photo was a unanimous choice.

For Theme 12: Expectation

#06 Bruce Entus & #56 Ryan Mah

Aaron MacFarlane Takes 12×12 to Spain!

Posted by on September 21, 2011 at 12:47 pm.

8806km didn’t deter 2-time 12×12 Vancouver Photo Marathoner Aaron MacFarlane from taking part in the 2011 cycle! Though not an ‘official’ participant, he nonetheless shot his photo set in real time from Ibiza, Spain. We held the marathon from 10am – 10pm so your math is correct, Aaron was running around with his 35mm from 7pm – 7am! Here are the results, re-posted with permission from our amazing overseas photographer.

Click here for the original post.

by Aaron MacFarlane

So, since 2009 there has been this annual fun film-shooting event going on in Vancouver. It’s called the 12×12 Vancouver Photo Marathon.

I’ve been partaking in it because I have been shooting film for a long time and the marathon is a full-on workout. 12 non-stop hours of getting a theme, using your creative juices to take a photo of that theme, then working on the next theme. 12 themes in 12 hours.

This year it turned out that the Marathon was taking place not on September 12 but on August 6. Right when we were to be on vacation in Europe.

So…here are the 12 shots. There was a mix-up as the timing was wonky (instead of 10am to 10pm Vancouver time, I was on 7pm to 7am Ibiza time!). This led to issues because we had a flight to catch at 7am from Ibiza to Paris! It wasn’t so much the flight that was the problem…it was the connectivity to the internet and the security at the Ibiza airport that had me put my camera away before being able to officially follow along with the rest of the people in Vancouver.

Let me just say that doing something like this is much much more difficult if you are in a place that you’ve never been to before. Why? Because you have no help regarding placement. Landmarks, expectations of human behaviour in certain places, they all play an important role in the composition of a photo for each theme.

So, I ultimately am not happy with my photos. Especially with the calibre of the photographers that were in Vancouver doing their thang. 🙂

Equipment used: 1 camera (Leica M6), 1 lens (35mm Summicron), and a roll of colour film.

Theme 01: My Entry Number (59) + Different Angle

Theme 01: My Entry Number (59) by Aaron MacFarlane

The angle was a tough addition. Instead of shooting straight on, I went up above.

I seriously thought of laying on the ground but I was wearing white and this was a very busy area so hundreds of people were walking about shopping and finding places to eat.

The shot was taken here.

Theme 02: The Usual Suspects

Theme 02: The Usual Suspects by Aaron MacFarlane

Scouting about for almost an hour…I was hoping to find a group of young boys being boys or something out of the ordinary. I couldn’t find anything. So I went to the strip where I knew I would find a group of old ‘usual suspects.’

The shot was taken here.

Theme 03: Human Nature

Theme 03: Human Nature by Aaron MacFarlane

I figured I knew right away where I would find some human nature. Down by the water! There will be people there doing what they do. Nope, there were no people there. Just people selling cheap sunglasses and tanktops. Kinda boring, so I looked up and thought ‘Oh look, there’s human nature for ya…we exploit beautiful things for our own good.’

The shot was taken here.

Theme 04: Reliable

Theme 04: Reliable by Aaron MacFarlane

I knew right away what I could find for this photo, seeing as how the sun had already gone down I thought of indoor shots. What’s more reliable than these?

The shot was taken here.

Theme 05: My Greatest Wish

Theme 05: My Greatest Wish by Aaron MacFarlane

Enjoying Life with someone you Love.

Theme 06: Odour

Theme 06: Odour by Aaron MacFarlane

At this point I had been able to get WIFI before heading off to the airport to catch a very early flight to Paris, France. After arriving at the airport there was no WIFI and, after taking this photo, a security guard gave stern warning which prevented me from taking any more photos in the airport. So the 12×12 day ended for me here. 🙁

The shot was taken here.

Theme 07: Echo

Theme 07: Echo by Aaron MacFarlane

Arriving in Paris in the morning made it easy to find the next theme although I was frustrated because I knew the rest of the pack had already finished the Marathon back in Vancouver. So I started up the timer clock again after receiving the rest of the themes via 12×12’s twitter messages.

Theme 08: Trapped

Theme 08: Trapped by Aaron MacFarlane

Well, it was mid-morning and there wasn’t anything jumping out at me so while walking past a little café I saw on the board something that I could eat and photograph for the next theme.

Theme 09: Take it to the Grave

Theme 09: Take it to the Grave by Aaron MacFarlane

Finding the cemetery took a bit of work because I had heard about it being an AMAZING place but was taken aback once inside walking about the huge stones and memorials. I could spend all day here. I could be buried here…with the material object I love the most.

The shot was taken here.

Theme 10: Second Chance

Theme 10: Second Chance by Aaron MacFarlane

I figured there would be some opportunity to walk down Champs-Élysées and find something related to second chance. Usually I don’t photograph people who are suffering or in need, but I figure the young woman would like a second chance at living in a society without having to beg all day to the tourists and locals.

The shot was taken here.

Theme 11: Not For Sale

Theme 11: Not for Sale by Aaron MacFarlane

The Notre Dame is obviously… 🙂

The shot was taken here.

Theme 12: Expectation

Theme 12: Expectation by Aaron MacFarlane

Sitting at the train station planning out the next venture (Brussels), we were having a late lunch and in a matter of seconds after sitting down we were visited by a group of feathered friends with looks in their eyes while watching us munch on our baguettes. They certainly were full of expectation. Very cute indeed.

The shot was taken here.

Thank you Aaron, for taking time out of your European vacation to share such a unique 12×12 experience with us. We hope to see you in the 2012 cycle!

Aaron MacFarlane was the Best Series winner for the 2009 cycle of 12×12, and for 2010, the audience pick for Best Photo Runner-Up and Best Theme 02 interpretation, both for his capture of “The High Road.”

Aaron’s Links:

If you’re curious to see what this year’s participants shot for their 12 exposures, don’t miss:
Raw Talent 2011: The 3rd Annual 12×12 Vancouver Photo Marathon Exhibit
THIS Sunday September 25th, 2011 – Doors: 6PM (FREE)
PhotoHaus Gallery at the Vancouver Photo Workshops
14 West 7th Avenue, Vancouver

1, 2, “I Do?”…12×12’s First Wedding!

Posted by on September 19, 2011 at 11:29 am.

You’d think that a wedding shoot would keep you from taking part in the 12×12. You’d probably also never consider lugging around yet another camera when the three or seven in your bag are already breaking your back. If that’s what you think, then you obviously don’t know Lisa King. Here’s the story (told by Lisa herself) on how 12×12 became her +1.

1, 2, “I Do?”…
by Lisa King

I am a professional photographer and have been freelancing in a variety of venues for the past six years. I would consider myself a photojournalist as many of my clients are media based but I also shoot weddings and corporate events on the weekends. I shoot primarily with my digital camera but continue to keep film alive when shooting portraits and weddings.

Last year I participated in the 12×12 for the first time and thoroughly enjoyed my experience. It was bitterly cold and at times rainy but the excitement of shooting film in a contest kept me warm and excited to shoot. To my surprise I won in the last category of the day, “Unfunny.”

2010 Winner for Theme 12: Unfunny by Lisa King

The positive energy and pure joy of this event had me looking forward to the 2011 12×12 event but was deeply saddened to hear that it was taking place smack dab in the middle of my wedding season. Even though I couldn’t participate as an official member, I was determined to still be there in spirit. With the help of Angela Chih, the 12×12 Producer, I took the challenge to Victoria and shot the categories in real time during the wedding. I was able to tie in the category “series” with ease, which in the previous year found very difficult to do. It definitely brought a unique excitement and a different challenge to shoot during the wedding. Every hour I pulled out my Pentax K1000 (my first and favorite camera) and shot each theme, jumping up and down every time I came up with something fun and silly.

I hold 12×12 close to my heart. It allows me to open up and feel like I can explore new levels of creativity in new and obscure ways. The category prompts can be challenging but that is what is so exciting and I am glad that I was able to take part in spirit. You will definitely see me competing next year so stay tuned.

Equipment used: 1 camera (Pentax K1000), 1 Lens (50 mm f1.4) and a roll of colour film.


Theme 01: My Entry Number (08) + Different Angle

Theme 01: My Entry Number (#08) by Lisa King

My entry number was 8. At this point in the wedding we had just arrived for an amazing homemade pancake breakfast at the bride’s girlfriend’s house. I had never seen so much amazing food at a breakfast before. There were pancakes made to order, two types of bacon, fruit salad, homemade sauces, mimosas…you name it, they had it. Eight people were eating oddly enough, but there was not enough room (with my fixed 50 mm lens) to fit them all in especially at a different physical angle. I twisted the literal number into “ate” and well, you can see how we felt after breakfast.

Theme 02: The Usual Suspects

Theme 02: The Usual Suspects by Lisa King

Ahhhh, getting ready. A lot of brides follow the tradition of: something old, something new, something borrowed something blue. This tradition is said to have derived in England during the Victorian era, where blue symbolizes love, fidelity and purity.


Theme 03: Human Nature

Theme 03: Human Nature by Lisa King

This one was quite difficult to come up with because of the timing. The wedding was about to get underway so I used the best possible literal translation as I could. Human with Nature.


Theme 04: Reliable

Theme 04: Reliable by Lisa King

Again, another time pressing moment. As seen, the bride is fixing her shoe and leaning on her husband for support.

Theme 05: My Greatest Wish

Theme 05: My Greatest Wish by Lisa King

I think many people would agree that eradicating cancer would be a dream come true. In lieu of party favors, a donation was given to the Canadian Cancer Society in memory of the groom’s father whom recently died of Lymphoma.

Theme 06: Odour

Theme 06: Odour by Lisa King

Do you have a pooey diaper?

Theme 07: Echo

Theme 07: Echo by Lisa King

Adorable flower girl twins. Sisters, especially twins like to repeat or imitate each other.


Theme 08: Trapped

Theme 08: Trapped by Lisa King

“A happy life, is a happy wife.” The rings have now “trapped” the man into a long marriage of “yes dear.”

Theme 09: Take it to the Grave

Theme 09: Take it to the Grave by Lisa King

“I Do.” Definition: “The social institution under which a man and woman establish their decision to live as husband and wife by legal commitments, religious ceremonies, etc.” This is supposed to be a forever thing but according to the Institute of Marriage and Family Canada “In 2002, the average age at divorce was 43.1 for men and 40.5 for women.”


Theme 10: Second Chance

Theme 10: Second Chance by Lisa King

Bocce (or sometimes spelled Boci or boccie) derived in ancient form from the Roman Empire but modernized by the Italians, allows a player to hit the ball again after going through a wicket. This game becomes increasingly difficult once inebriated, especially if you’ve had a photographer set up your course. Up hills and around corners, there will always be an opportunity for a “second chance.”

Theme 11: Not for Sale

Theme 11: Not for Sale by Lisa King

Duh! Well maybe…how much are you offering?

Theme 12: Expectation

Theme 12: Expectation by Lisa King

OPEN BAR! Enough said.

Thank you Lisa, for taking us along for the ride. We hope to see you in the 2012 cycle!

Lisa’s Links:


If you’re curious to see what this year’s participants shot for their 12 exposures, don’t miss:
Raw Talent 2011: The 3rd Annual 12×12 Vancouver Photo Marathon Exhibit
THIS Sunday September 25th, 2011 – Doors: 6PM (FREE)
PhotoHaus Gallery at the Vancouver Photo Workshops
14 West 7th Avenue, Vancouver

Shadowing Ryan & Ruwan: The Perfect Frame

Posted by on September 17, 2011 at 12:22 am.

You fascinate me. Yes, YOU. The one whose eyes are following this line of text across the computer screen.

I wasn’t always so curious. It was only later in life that I realized how intriguing each and every person I came across could be. No matter how much you’ve done or how much you’ve yet to do, you carry with you a world of mystery. That fascinates me.

Photos are much the same. Take Matthew Sinclair’s 2010 winning image for Best Photo Runner-Up. The theme was “Secret World.”

Theme 09: Secret World by Matthew Sinclair

What was your first impression? Do you think that’s what Matthew intended to convey? Was your reflex to imagine something warm and positive or did your mind wander into more eerie thoughts? Now you wanna know what was really on his mind, right? That’s the wonderful magic of photography. Like any other art form, it’s just there for each individual’s own unique interpretation. But the curiosity persists. If only you could tap into the artist’s psyche for just a wee peek…

Well, now you can! One of our 2010 marathoners took it upon himself (with our blessing of course) to document the 2011 cycle by tagging along with two of this year’s participants, both new to 12×12: Ryan Mah (#56) and Ruwan Fernando (#32). Thanks to Martin Chung’s shooting savvy, we now have for the first time a very rare behind-the-scenes look at the taking of those perfect frames. We hope you enjoy this series as much as we do!

If you want to see Ryan and Ruwan’s photographic results, check out Raw Talent 2011: The 12×12 Vancouver Photo Marathon Exhibit happening on Sunday September 25th, 2011 at PhotoHaus Gallery.

Click here to see the original blog post by Martin Chung.

Ryan and Ruwan’s Story, Part 1

Ryan and Ruwan’s Story, Part 2

Ryan and Ruwan’s Story, Part 3

Ryan and Ruwan’s Story, Part 4

Ryan and Ruwan’s Story, Part 5

A professional Vancouver photographer, Martin Chung took part in the 2010 12×12 Vancouver Photo Marathon as participant #52 and won an award for his interpretation of Theme 09: Vague.
Twitter: @martin_chung
Website: www.StudioImpossible.com

Raw Talent 2011: The 12×12 Exhibit

Posted by on September 15, 2011 at 11:42 am.


Vancouver, BC (September 15, 2011): For 12 hours on a sunny Saturday, 60 adventurous people roamed the streets of downtown Vancouver capturing their interpretations of 12 themes with only 12 exposures of 35mm film. To see what these photographers shot, along with those of the other marathoners, everyone is invited to help celebrate the art of film photography as the excitement of that day’s events is relived at the 3rd annual 12×12 Vancouver Photo Marathon Exhibit entitled “Raw Talent.”

SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 25TH, 2011 • 6 – 10 PM • FREE


Returning marathoners may have been prepared to shoot “My Entry Number”* as their first theme, but when “+ Different Angle” was added to it, “The Usual Suspects”* knew they weren’t going to be let off that easy. However, “Human Nature”* thrives on the excitement of the unexpected and having a “Reliable”* camera was the key to realizing one’s “Greatest Wish”* to complete the 12-hour challenge. Pounding the pavement on a sizzling summer day can generate an interesting “Odour,”* but thankfully the delicious aromas of Urban Rush Cafe “Echo”ed* throughout home base and some nourishment soon propelled those who had been feeling creatively “Trapped”* to get back on the hunt. Few know the behind-the-scenes stories. Some may “Take it to the Grave.”* But one thing’s for sure. Many wished they could get a “Second Chance”* at snapping that perfect frame. To the organizers though, those images are “Not for Sale.”* Your “Expectation”* of the exhibit is undoubtedly high and you will not be disappointed.

Over 700 untouched photos will be on display and the winning prints announced. This year’s esteemed panel of judges include Urban Rush’s Fiona Forbes, Vancouver Photo Workshops instructor Syx Langemann, FotoMarathon (Copenhagen) organizer Samir Maktabi, and for a 12×12 first, a mystery judge whose identity will be revealed at the exhibit. Join in on Sunday September 25th as 60 marathoners regroup with nervous anticipation to find out how their images developed. You won’t want to miss this highly anticipated event!


For more information or to book an interview, please contact:

Angela Chih, Event Producer
e: Click here to submit an email
c: 778.388.3690

* The 12 themes – in sequence – randomly drawn during the 2011 12×12 Vancouver Photo Marathon on August 6th

Click here for answers to Frequently Asked Questions
Click here to watch a time-lapse video of Raw Talent 2010
Click here to watch a feature on the 2010 12×12 Vancouver Photo Marathon & Exhibit

2011 12×12 Recap

Posted by on August 10, 2011 at 3:32 pm.

We thought about whipping up a post-12×12 account of the day’s events but then we began to receive some amazing blog posts from our marathoners and realized featuring them would be so much better! Thanks you guys, for making our job easier 😉

Simply click on the corresponding image or marathoner name to jump to the full blog post.

For more stories (past and present), check out the “A Marathoner’s Perspective” page. If you publish any posts yourself, make sure to let us know so we can add you to the list. We’re also linking any Flickr sets that you may have so send those links as well.


“Oh, hello camera— have we met before? I apparently have no idea how you operate. I silently vow to teach myself better photography skills, and hope that my roll of film mysteriously goes missing during the developing process.”

Chrissy Davey #07

“Maybe it was the fatigue setting in, but the last few themes felt more and more challenging (I say ‘challenging’ but the words floating in my head were ‘ridiculous’ and ‘are you serious?!?’).”

Zachary Wong #52

“My highlights…3) Deciding to drink a pint (although…I am doubtful they were actual pints…) of beer every hour after noon to fuel the creativity. I like to think it helped. We’ll see how well it helped the camera shake later on in the night.”

Cara Grimshaw #16

“Last year we won the Audience’s Choice Best Series. So this year the pressure is on! Ayoe and I actually practiced our ‘secret technique’ on couple rolls of film just to make sure we can pull the technique off.”

Bob Lai #01

“…1 year later = 1 year wiser; You learn from your mistakes, you prepare. A few things I seemed to anticipate (like the ubiquitous first theme), and with the help of other fellow participants, some shots I couldn’t achieve (without)…”

Christian Bucad #02





“As a runner, the use of the word “marathon” in the event name seems fitting, and that was my mindset throughout the day. The mental aspect of finding an appropriate photo is compounded with the physical in terms of all the walking I did…”

Eric Bucad #11

“…how my marathoning unfolded.”

Michael Burns #57

Photography by Chance

Posted by on August 5, 2011 at 4:01 pm.

Everyone preps for 12×12 differently, but have you ever considered not prepping at all? Here’s Valerie McTavish‘s take on how she would run the 12×12 Vancouver Photo Marathon

Get the perfect shot. In one hour. And then do it eleven more times. It can be daunting to receive a clue and then come up with a plan for that quintessential shot. So, why not throw the plan out the window and leave that shot to chance.

Here’s the deal. When you get an idea in your head, you become focused on that concept. You might run out to the spot where you think you can get the shot. You might spend some time walking around the shot or you might spend a whole bunch of time setting up the shot, getting the lighting just right. And while it might be a great looking photo full of witty irony or whatever you were going for, it might be missing something; magic.

If you look back at images captured during the last two 12×12 Vancouver Photo Marathons – guaranteed the ones that will stand out are the ones that make you say, “wow, how’d they get that?” These shots are not staged. They are not pre-planned, they just happened. The one that comes to mind for me was from Aaron MacFarlane for the theme ‘Tie’ that captured a car and a person crossing a line on the road at exactly the same time. It’s perfectly serendipitous – I’d be surprised if that was staged. I find captured moments in many of the shots taken in last year’s marathon by Best Series runner-up Robert Fougere. And while I might not use the word ‘magic’ to describe his image of a dog doing his business, I have to say it was a clever and unexpected way to represent the theme ‘My Entry Number.’

Maybe you’re the kind of person who doesn’t like to leave things up to chance. Maybe you’re afraid that you might not complete the task in the time allotted or that the shot might not be perfect if you don’t have a plan. As one of the creators of Zufall (a tool that leaves adventure and travel to chance), I can assure you, something always comes up. The trick is to focus on the process or the journey, not on the end result. Be present in the moment, keep your eyes open and really look for that perfect picture to present itself. If you let go of the expectation of what that picture might look like and really focus on the theme, you’ll be amazed at the many creative ways that you can find the theme in the world around you.

Make no mistake, the marathon will still be a challenge, but if you throw away the plan and spend the day being aware of the beauty around you, you’ll be sure to not only have fun but get amazing shots that will make people wonder how you captured the magic. Happy Marathoning!

Valerie McTavish may not know where she’s going, but she always has fun getting there. One of the creators of the Zufall Adventures by Chance dice and the new mobile phone app (developed by Phil Wu, a 3-time 12×12 marathoner), she’s spent the last ten years finding adventure at the will of the dice.

You can follow her spontaneous randomness on twitter at @ZufallAdventure or read about her travels on the Zublog.

Six by Syx: Tip #6 Think of EVERYthing

Posted by on August 5, 2011 at 11:32 am.

To help prepare you for the marathon, Vancouver Photo Workshops instructor and 2011 12×12 judge Syx Langemann offers up a 6-part series of tips and tricks to get you through Saturday August 6th.

Your camera is clean
Your bags are packed
You’ve read over the tips one last time (seriously, go read them over – they are fun and informative!)
You’re ready for this marathon
SO…what are you forgetting?


Start with your camera bag. This is essential for the day. Make sure you have things like:

  • Your camera
  • Your lenses
  • Your flash
  • Your reflector
  • Maybe a light meter (if you don’t trust the one in your camera). Maybe pack a grey card to help with exposure
  • I’m not usually without my iPhone, and that is an assistant that is always needed. There is a ton of reference and help out there, much like this blog; you just need to search it out. Also for the meter and the grey card, there’s an app for that
  • Tripod – no app will replace that

Now that you are packed, unpacked and repacked. Take out all unnecessary items that will weigh you down as the 12 hour day drags on. Try to pack light, but not too light; you don’t want to leave anything important behind.

Plastic bags, oh yeah, don’t forget those. They are great for protecting your camera from the expected intermittent rain showers in Vancouver. Even in August…you never know. They are also great if you find yourself in a sketchy place where you need to kneel down or lay your shoulder on the ground. Sometimes great photographs come from different angles. Think outside of the box and think ahead.

Once you’ve packed your camera gear, then it’s time to think about yourself. This is where you need to concentrate. Seriously, for some of you (Morten), not having your morning coffee will ruin a day, so plan accordingly.

  • Shoes – your feet are going to be doing a lot of walking, make sure you have comfortable footwear. I’m not sure that flip-flops qualify, no matter how hot it is
  • Hat – protect yourself from the sun and the heat
  • Sunscreen – because summer finally arrived!
  • Dress in layers – there is a chance of it cooling down into the evening. You will be tired and hungry, don’t add cold to the mix
  • Music / audio book – it’s gonna be a long long day, you might as well be in your own little world. This is one of those things that is easily left behind, and it can really change your shooting mood!
  • Food / snacks / water – last time I checked, we all needed these to survive. Make sure you have $ in you pocket and plan your feedings. It’s a proven fact that hunger is the cause stupidity*. You’ll need to stay sharp if you plan on winning. This year, the organizers have set up the home base at Urban Rush Cafe which offers breakfast, lunch and dinner options in addition to the usual coffee shop fare so that you can concentrate on your shots and not where to get some grub. Check in often to fuel up and chat with everyone. You might just get your brilliant idea for the perfect shot after a creative pow-wow with your fellow marathoners

Above all, you all will most definitely need to bring:

  • A sense of humour
  • A sense of adventure
  • A sense of direction. Don’t get lost – there’s an app for that

The themes are released every hour on the hour. Don’t miss a theme. Don’t miss a frame. Don’t shoot out of order.

I wish you all the best of luck tomorrow, and I look forward to seeing all the images with the other judges!

*Not proven by anyone that I can reference online, but I know that at some point in my life my mother told me this was fact. “Come in from playing and eat, you stupid kids,” she’d say.

We hope you’ve enjoyed Six by Syx: 6 Essential 12×12 Survival Tips. If you have a question or comment, leave us a note below!

Known for his Classically Twisted Nudes that push the viewer to discover new views of beauty, Syx Langemann has been photographing his own unique world since 1993 and can be found at Vancouver Photo Workshops teaching students how to capture theirs.

Syx is also one of the judges of the 2011 12×12 Vancouver Photo Marathon.

Six by Syx: Tip #5 Tripods, Low Light Shooting & Fun with Your Flash

Posted by on August 3, 2011 at 1:34 pm.

To help prepare you for the marathon, Vancouver Photo Workshops instructor and 2011 12×12 judge Syx Langemann offers up a 6-part series of tips and tricks to get you through Saturday August 6th.

This year, you will be faced with a later start time; therefore a later end time. As the sun goes down on the marathon, the doors open up to 2 hours of later shooting than the previous 12×12 cycles, and the fact is, you need to know how to handle less light to avoid blowing your other 10 exposures.


During this year’s 12×12, you’ll be using 400 ISO film and this is locked in. Unlike DSLRs, if you are in need of exposure, ISO is not an option unless you change your film. Therefore, this is not an option to you. There are only two other tools available to you in order to ‘get light.’

1. APERTURE – and again, these values are functions of the lens. If you have a lens in your arsenal that opens up to 1.8 or better yet 1.4, this will offer you hand-held shooting options in lower light levels.

2. SHUTTER SPEED – the longer the duration of the exposure, the more exposure you will get, therefore the brighter the final image. If you are not able to gain light via the aperture of the lens, then you may need to slow the shutter speed down. The slower the shutter, the more chance there is for nasty camera shake to ruin your picture. Now, considering you’ll all be hanging out in a coffee shop all day long during the marathon, steady hands will not be on your side. The general rule of thumb to avoid camera shake while hand holding: 1/focal length of the lens (i.e. 1/100 for a 100mm, 1/50 for a 50mm). It is also suggested that you never dip below 1/30th of a second. Anything slower than this and camera shake is a guarantee.

If you have reached your limit in both of these areas, then there are a few tools that you may need to pack to help you out. One is a TRIPOD. Long exposures are reasonably easy to achieve with the aid of a tripod. We need to steady the camera so that it can shoot for longer periods than we can hand hold. Calculating the actual exposure values may seem a bit difficult, as the meter will not help when you are shooting in bulb mode. Click here for an online calculator that can help you to predict some of your exposure values.

You can get great effects just by using a longer shutter speed and a tripod. There are a lot of moving lights and people downtown. Don’t forget, the 12×12 falls on the finale of the Celebration of Lights. Point your camera toward moving traffic through the legs of pedestrians. Watch the lights around you and think about how they move. Thinking of your frame in terms of ‘seconds’ and not fractions of a second requires a different creative process. Think about how movement of things will be recorded by the camera, how the moving lights will draw lines in your frame. If this is the type of low light shooting you do, then consider how these lines affect your composition and the reading of your image.

You can also set you camera for a long shutter speed, 30 sec, a higher aperture, and run around with a flash light and create photos like the one that you see on the far left.

Go against the grain, hold the camera to intentionally give your photographs movement. This concept can be fun on its own, but can also be the foundation for another great low light technique. Move your camera and paint with the existing lights.

SLOW SHUTTER SYNC or SHUTTER DRAG is an effect that I really enjoy in my own photos. Mixing a flash with a slower shutter, allowing the ambient light to balance the exposure creates more pleasing low-light photographs. In fact, if you find yourself shooting inside anytime throughout the day, this tip may also apply to these situations. This technique requires some understanding of how to handle your specific flash. In fact, the more you know about your flash the better. FLASH EXPOSURE COMPENSATION is also useful, but its a bit beyond this blog entry.

During a shutter drag, the burst of light from the flash will freeze the motion of the subject it illuminates while the ambient light in the background of the image reveals the movement of the camera. This has a nice effect and is a great low light technique.

Have a question or comment? Leave us a note below.
I hope that one or more of this week’s tips will help you in the low-light portion of the 12×12. Stay tuned for the final tip this Friday!

Known for his Classically Twisted Nudes that push the viewer to discover new views of beauty, Syx Langemann has been photographing his own unique world since 1993 and can be found at Vancouver Photo Workshops teaching students how to capture theirs.

Syx is also one of the judges of the 2011 12×12 Vancouver Photo Marathon.