I definitely learned a few things over the weekend while we shot the TEA Walk (Together Empowering Asian Americans) organized by the Center for Pan Asian Community Services (CPACS). This was the first time I was determined to get a specific ‘shot’ – and didn’t get it. The photo up above is a cropped one of the one below – both are my consolation prizes for not getting the shot I was working towards.

I have excuses, the main one being that I simply didn’t have the experience I needed in order to overcome the problem I was having – basically, a more experienced photographer would have known how to get the shot. Even the small amount of creativity in my head wasn’t enough.

And I know I’m being vague here – but that’s because I’m still competing against all of the other photographers who also didn’t get the shot. Still. Maybe next year if we’re still in Atlanta.

I learned a lot about shooting ‘walks’. Aside from that one shot that I didn’t get, the ones that I did get also taught me a great deal. See, the problem with shooting ‘walks’ or runs of this sort is that it’s just a parade of people and it’s very easy for your composition to freeze and you can end up with 3,000 photos of the SAME EXACT SHOT. Great as far as coverage – bad as far as making it any kind of interesting.

I work hard when I’m shooting an event. Since I’m probably never going to have the most advanced (expensive) gear, the only edge I have on other photographers is a bit of creativity and working harder than they do for the shot.

Info: The TEA Walk runs about 1.5 miles up and down Buford Highway – most of it is uphill. Since I’m always trying to get the shot that the other photographers aren’t getting, I decided that I needed to be elevated – so I brought a ladder. Although Leah was my assistant on this shoot – I wasn’t about to have her running with a ladder up and down Buford Highway – that’s my job.

So I’m running ahead of the pack, carrying my camera, bag, and ladder. Then I set up, shoot, repeat. It was tiring to say the least – but I knew my shots weren’t going to look anything like anyone else’s. I saw one photog with what must’ve been TWO Canon 5Ds and one with a huge zoom lens that by itself cost more than all of my equipment. How can I compete against that?

By running a mile uphill with a ladder apparently.


(Photo by our friend Helen Kim of CPACS) – Obviously that’s me up there but if you look to my right, you’ll see Leah holding a flash and aiming it at different points. That was another thing I was trying to use while getting ‘different’ photos – off camera flash. Sure it was pretty bright and sunny (at times – since you can also see how overcast and cloudy it was) – but I figured hey why not try to throw a flash in there – the other guys aren’t using anything but on camera flash. Yeah – Every. Single. Edge. I. Can. Get.


After I had accepted the fact that I just wasn’t going to get ‘that shot’ – I finally started getting some GREAT photos. That’s another thing – I was so preoccupied with that one photo that I was missing everything and had gotten out of my own crazy workflow – where I usually live when I’m shooting. I came very close to not getting any really good shots at the costs of that one shot I never got.


This was the most successful TEA Walk so far and there were many more ‘Asian’ groups than most people here in the US generally think about when they think of ‘Asian’. There were a considerable number of groups from Nepal/India/Bangladesh and the western side of Asia. Not only was there a very diverse range of ‘Asians’ – but Leah commented on how this was probably one of the most efficiently run ‘walks/events’ she had ever seen.

They had an army of volunteers – who ACTUALLY WORKED THE WHOLE TIME – and they had proper volunteer leaders that took care of everything – Leah even joked that they should hire themselves out as Event Consultants – that’s how well this event was run.


Still. I wish I had gotten that One Photo. Maybe Next Year.



One Reply to “TEA Walk

  1. TEA WALK was great! As a South Korean originated store, Yogurberry ATL, was very honored to be part of TEA WALK and helping raise awareness for the Asian American community. Thanks for sharing the great article and pictures!

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