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Round and Round It Goes, Where It Stops...
Itís Me, O Lord - This is My Own

Copyright Mark Hobson. All rights reserved.

I have always thought of the World Wide Web as a seething, pulsing and rather cold organism that whirls and swirls around the planet, ever evolving and morphing, never sleeping. It grows larger and larger with its tentacles reaching everywhere - often unbidden and unwanted. Round and round it goes and, no matter how fast your connection, you may catch a ride but you know that you will never reach the end of the Internet.

Intangible and conceptual as it is, if the web werenít so real, it would be a perfect metaphor for the life-in-the-fast-lane rat race that so many live today - moving, always moving. Down the road, up the ladder. Got to get ahead, canít fall behind Ė got to keep up with the Joneses.

Now, as an antidote to the hustle, I live in a place that has been called the land that time forgot - the Adirondack Park, a place of tiny villages and hamlets sprinkled throughout the largest wilderness east of the Mississippi. In an area larger than Vermont, there are probably only about 20 traffic lights of any kind - my village has one flashing light. Most businesses are Mom Ďn Pops and, believe it or not, most places you can still pay for lunch, buy gas or a pizza with an out-of-town check.

Itís a special place and I kind of like it.

That notion of something special got me to thinking the other day as I was perusing the NPN forums. It occurred to me that although I have made a number of friends here and that I know something about them through their photography, I really donít know very much about where they live. I assume that, like me, like where they live and furthermore that there is probably something special about it that they hold dear.

I admit, Iím curious. If I had the time and money, Iíd probably take a long trip and wander around the planet, dropping in and seeing whatís going on - but, at this point in my life, thatís not going to happen. And thatís when it hit me - weíre all photographers here. I donít need to go around the world, a camera does !

And so it began. After a couple of exchanged emails with Jim E, there it was - My Place in the World - The NPN/Roving Camera Project. Starting this month, Jim has authorized, under the NPN banner and my supervision, this new photography project.

The project will work like this - a camera, a miniature Rolleiflex MiniDigi, will make its way around the world stopping to visit approximately 25-30 NPN members. It will visit for 5 to 6 days before moving on to the next stop. During those 5 to 6 days, the NPN member can use the camera to create any number of photographs that illustrate the theme - preferably photographs of something in the natural world (man and nature OK) near where they live that is important to them.

A Roving Camera Project Gallery has been created on NPN for the participants to post their edited photos, where they will remain throughout the duration of the project, expected to last the entire year. Comments and feedback can be posted just as in any NPN forum.

The objective is for each participant to edit their photographs down to what will fit on a two-page spread in a book - one per page, a series across 2 pages, a stitched pano across 2 pages, or whatever seems to work - as long as it fits on a 2 page spread, because once the camera has completed its circumnavigation of the planet, a photo book will be produced and made available to all through the soon-to-be-launched NPN Bookstore. The book will be offered at cost. Each participant will be required to submit a short description for their 2 page spread in the book about why the subject of their photograph(s) is important to them. The book will also have contact info for the respective photographer.

In addition, once the project gets rolling and photographs start to come in, I will be attempting to find a gallery(s) to have a show(s). I will also try to market the project to a publisher (for profit to all participants).

There will be a participation fee of $15.00 US to cover the cost of the camera, memory card, and extra batteries. Each participant will also be responsible for shipping costs (insured FedEx, UPS, USPS) to the next participant. You might like to consider the participation fee as a kind of lotto ticket - the camera will be given away to one lucky participant at the end of the project.

Thatís it, and, if youíre an NPN member, youíre invited to participate - first come, first served. If there are more willing participants than the 25-30 limit, a second project group could be a possibility, but, please ACT NOW Ė contact me at ASAP. We want to wish the camera a cheery ďBon VoyageĒ within the next week or so.

Donít be intimidated - this is not a competition. Weíre not looking for technique-virtuoso photographs. We just want to see your Place in the World and learn why itís important to you. Stand up, be counted, and show us (and all those on the big WWW) your stuff - just like my world famous artist/neighbor (now dearly departed) Rockwell Kent proclaimed, ďItís me, O Lord...this is my own.Ē

Comments on this NPN nature photography project? Send them to the editor.

MH-NPN 1196

Mark Hobson is a family guy lucky enough to be living in his favorite place on earth, the Adirondacks. A former agency creative director and commercial photographer, Mark has brought his love of the wilderness and photography together to form Nessmuk & Stoddard Trekking.

Mark's photography has been used by Fortune 500s such as Kodak, Xerox, Heinz, PPG, and Bausch & Lomb. As a creative director he has produced campaigns for clients such as; I LOVE NY, Lake Placid, The Adirondacks, Cooperstown and the Finger Lakes.

His Adirondack photography has been exhibited in galleries in the NE. He has won recognition as a repeat finalist in the Carnegie International Nature Photo Competition. Mark has also been a judge for the Kodak International Snapshot Competition as well as the Kodak Camera Club.

Mark offers comprehensive written portfolio reviews for amateur and professional photographers. Contact him at for details.

Be sure to visit Mark's website at

Comments on NPN landscape photography articles? Send them to the editor.

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