Downtown Tupelo, MS – March 31, 2012

Historic Downtown Tupelo, MS – March 31, 2012

After conducting several successful photo safaris in various places around the US, I had numerous requests to lead a photo safari right here in my city – Tupelo, MS (birthplace of Elvis!)

So, after careful planning, with the able help of fellow Apple Distinguished Educator, Niki Peel, and Communications Director for the Tupelo Public Schools, Kay Bishop, we set the date and time.  Niki serves as Assistant Principal at Tupelo High School, so she suggested that we recruit a cadre of student leaders who would be happy to serve as “tour guides” for participants in our event.  What a great idea!

Niki prepared a publicity flyer..
Tupelo Photo Safari Flyer

and Kay Bishop sent it to all local media outlets, organizations, and people who might be interested in coming along.  The results were quite positive!

If you’re considering leading a photo safari in your own city, you might consider creating a map of suggested walking routes, much as we did for our participants:
and maybe even give an optional route:

These maps have come in really handy on photo safaris.  Our event in Tupelo was no different, even though most participants are familiar with the city streets.  It still gave ample opportunity for photographers to discuss specific sites that would be good places to stop and photograph.  Too, in case somebody decided to go down a side street, group members could coordinate a meet-up point.

The morning of the photo safari arrived.  I conducted a brief orientation session, just so everybody knew the game plan and any other pertinent information to pass along.  This also gave time for people to become acquainted or to have a few moments of fellowship.

One thing I always like to do is to make a group photo, just so people who participate will have a visual memento of our time together.  Naturally, since I usually make the photos, I’m almost never in the picture.  But, nobody seems to mind!  🙂


The variety of photographs made that day was astounding!  Nearly everyone commented that, although they had lived in Tupelo most of their lives, they had never stopped to view some of the sights we beheld.  For others, it was merely a chance to stroll casually through downtown on a lazy Saturday and not feel rushed or pressured to dash to some other appointment.  Most of the sounds I heard that day were the rings of laughter.  That’s a great sign.

It was my pleasure to be able to demonstrate (and teach, at least at a basic level) the concept of HDR (High Dynamic Range) photography to the group.  This occasion took place near the end of our photo safari, so people were really eager to learn brand new tricks.  It pleased me to see some HDR images that others made to show up on our Flickr group page (  Here are a couple of examples:

This was Niki Peel’s first attempt at HDR.  She captured (“bracketed”) three shots, then combined them in HDR software, producing this image of an abandoned warehouse near the railroad tracks.

This image of a railroad boxcar demonstrates how HDR software can be used to give a photo some kind of “painterly” effect.  This, too, was a combination of three separate images made with varying exposure levels in order to capture the desired overall outcome.

This building was once the offices for a local ice and gas company, from back in the day when people had ice delivered to their homes.  Currently, it is a financial management firm, but holds a type of historical mystery.  Members of the photo safari group really enjoyed making a variety of photographs of this building.

Upon conclusion of the photo safari, several members walked to a downtown restaurant and enjoyed a delicious lunch together.  This was a near-perfect ending to a near-perfect day.  The best part of all?  Everybody exclaimed, “Let’s do this again soon!”

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