2010 Canberra - Photo Marathon

by Debbie Hartley

The 12 themes for the day were:

1. Your entry number
2. Can't live without it
3. Evolution
4. Light
5. The 5th element
6. Upside down
7. A thousand words
8. Raw emotions
9. Walkabout
10. Larger than life
11. Heart of a nation
12. Earth hour - Every Hour

This is my story.


I dragged myself out of bed, to be at the first waypoint by 7:00am to collect my first six themes for the day. Easy enough you might say, but not really. There were strings attached! The photos had to be taken in the order that they appeared on the list. The memory card in your camera was to have only the 12 final entries on it at the end of the day for uploading to the computers at the finish waypoint. No photoshopping was allowed, and only photos taken in the time frame were eligible. Entrants also had to return to the 2nd waypoint between 1:30pm and 2:15pm to collect the final six themes. There were other rules, but as I dont partake in criminal activity or take nude photos, that was ok.

I arrived at the starting waypoint and received my first list of six themes. I read each of the themes with anticipation and excitement, my brain went into overload as I tried to think of creative ways to photograph each theme.


Off I set to begin my photo marathon. And marathon it was. I began taking images at approx 10:00am, as I did have other commitments in the morning. Luckily I had nearly all the items on hand (yes, even the chocolate which I had not yet eaten!) that I thought I might be able to create something out of. The morning was somewhat of a blur. I was frustrated, excited, tired and my brain was in a whirl as I tried to think of ideas for the first six themes. At one stage I nearly pulled out of the comp because I thought it was all too hard, but I then realised that this was meant to be a fun exercise, and I stopped putting pressure on myself and began doing what I like to do. Photograph!

Now my next problem was that I was on a limited time frame. I had to complete all of the themes by 4:00pm - ready to hand in at 7:15pm - as I was to be at a wedding at this time. So my shooting time went from 12 hours to 6 hours - normally I can spend a couple of days on one idea, let alone 6 hours on 12 ideas! And to make matters worse, I took way too many photos of each of the first six themes (about 550 all up) and had to reduce my memory card to six images only. Oh the things we learn! Well, 1:15pm was fast approaching and I had to find the 2nd waypoint and collect my next six themes.

Off I went to the 2nd waypoint, driven by my very patient partner, and I collected my next six themes.

Larger than life
Larger than life

Once again my mind was a whirl, but this time, as I was running out of time, I photographed the first thing that came to mind for each theme, and I also took about 10 images for each them so I would have less to delete. I completed all theme photos by 4:00pm! And I made the wedding on time!

At 7:15pm I took my carefully guarded memory card, with my 12 precious images on it, and had it downloaded at the finish waypoint. I was relieved that it was over, and excited that I had got through the day with a mimimum of frustration. I did it!

I cannot wait until the Photo Marathon Showcase party, when all the winners will be announced, but mostly because I cant wait to see how 125 other photographers have interpreted each theme, and also to hear their stories of how they enjoyed the day.

Earth Hour - Every Hour
Earth Hour - Every Hour

I must make special mention of my partner and daughter. They both "cheered" me on throughout the day, cleaned up the messes I made with raw egg, melted chocolate (that was easy my daughter volunteered to eat it), bubbles, cake crumbs, red paint - which remains on my driveway - permanently - (well, the bottle said it would wash off!) and melted wax. Oh, and they also put the fire out when I was melting wax on the stove (but that's another story!)

Finally I would like to say, the 2010 Canberra Photo Marathon ran smoothly from start to finish and I congratulate the organisers for a very well run exciting event.

Would I do it again? Hell yeah!!

To find out more about the 2010 Canberra Photo Marathon visit: http://photomarathon.com.au/

UPDATE 17 April 2010: I attended the Photo Marathon Showcase event and was awarded the overall 1st prize for my portfolio. I also picked up 1st prize for the Earth Hour theme, 2nd prize for Larger than Life, and 2nd prize for Light!! So I am pretty excited!