Boot Camp II: Introduction

Welcome to Boot Camp II, a series of assignments designed to help the newbs to get off their collective butt and actually go shoot something.

If you are more experienced, you are more than welcome to participate. But understand that, at least at first, we'll be dialing the degree of difficulty back a little.

Details, and a couple of items of interest, inside.
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What to Expect

This summer, you will receive four assignments. Each assignment will have a specific subject matter and scale, and will be designed to introduce you to four different areas of photography.

Our theme this summer is the worldwide economic meltdown, so everyone please sell all of their stocks to buy gold and ammo if they haven't already.

Long-time readers will already know that we don't take world economic crises (or much of anything else) too seriously. In fact, we would rather tickle a credit crunch under the chin -- or maybe sneak up behind it and deliver a wedgie -- than cower in fear what might happen in the future if we spend enough time worrying about it.

After all, what can we really do about it? Nothing, right?

Well, maybe not. We can always do something. Even if it is small, it is still something. So each assignment will contain a way in which it can be used to do something good in the face of certain, worldwide economic doom.

It might be the assignment itself. It might be a variant in which you can choose to participate. But the point is that this need not be pointless busywork. You can accomplish something good with each of these shoots if you want to.


Okay, Let's Make This Interesting

Each assignment will also come with an associated prize pack. We have some nifty things lined up that certainly will be of interest to anyone who reads this site.

Shortly after the deadline for each shoot I will choose a single winner, based on quality, lighting, appropriateness to the assignment, the alignment of the stars, what I had for breakfast that morning, etc. Conveniently, with a judging panel of one, each decision will be unanimous.

The winner will receive the prize pack, with free shipping to anywhere in the world. The contents will be labeled as a gift, which it is, so hopefully that might even get you out of duties if your country so imposes.


How to Participate

The assignments will be submitted through Flickr. By now, you should have already created a Flickr account if you did not already have one. If your country's government is so worried you will see a boobie (or a guy standing in front of a row of tanks) that they block Flickr, there are workarounds.

Download Firefox and install the Access Flickr! 1.11 add-on and it will usually get you in.

Mind you, this is only a suggestion from your shining, world-class democracy that values intellectual freedom so long as you do not stand near a train station brandishing a camera. If your government might track you down and lop off your goodies for doing the Flickr end-around, that's on you.


Fraud Squad: Two Important Notes

From experience, I have learned that when there are prizes involved, people will try to game the system.

We do so want to make sure you are not tempted to enter your various, pre-existing portfolio pictures as assignments. So each assignment will also a little security code that the winner will be required to provide before any prizes are coughed up. More on that later.

Second, the biggest benefit from these group assignments is in seeing how people from around the world handle the exact same assignment you just shot. To that end, I would like to put up an all-in slideshow of the entries up on the main site, just as we did with the water drops.

To do that, we have to rely on people tagging their assignment photos -- and only their assignment photos -- accurately. The tags will be designed so that photos could not "accidentally" get swept into the slideshow.

Since the photos also will have to be dropped into the Strobist pool to qualify (more on that later) there is some recourse available. Tagged photos not appropriate to the assignment will be removed from the pool, thus removing them from the slideshow and from prize consideration.

And depending on how badly the bounds are breached, the photographer may themselves be removed from the Strobist group -- or permanently banned. The idea is to be inclusive with the slideshow. So please do not take advantage of the tagging structure just to be an ass.

This kind of thing would be at the expense of all who entered honorably. And we can only promise that you will be given a fair trial, immediately followed by a fine hanging.


Follow Along at Home

Are you a blogger? If so, you are encouraged to follow along in public. After all, why crash and burn in obscurity when you can do so in front of the whole world?

If you want to participate in a meta-tagged way, it's very simple to do so. Just link into the appropriate assignment page in your posts, and include the intact phrase "Strobist Boot Camp II" (no quotes necessary). Then, your post should come up in a Google blog search which will be linked from each and every Boot Camp II post.

That linked search (results are last-in, first-out) should be good for a few drunken visitors stumbling in over the course of the Boot Camp and long after. What the heck. It's not as if you were swimming in fantastic post ideas for the whole summer, right?

That's all for now. The first assignment drops in tomorrow.


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