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Obviously, photochaining doesn’t have to be done outdoors, but I had to have a way to distinguish one kind of photochaining from the other. So, “outdoors” seemed to be the best short descriptor. Anyway…

If you’re starting a chain, begin with #1. If you’re finding a card already in the chain, skip that step!

My friend, Faye Kotsis, started an outdoor photochain while she was traveling through the Grampians National Park located in the Grampians region of Victoria, Australia. She had a new project for one of her online blogs: a holiday guide to the Victorian area of Australia. It’s a gorgeous park with stunning vistas of the mountain ranges, as well as being one of the richest indigenous rock art sites in south-eastern Australia. She felt this region was perfect for photochaining and she was right. The opportunities for taking great pictures in limitless with its cascading waterfalls, abundant wild life, colorful flowers, the astounding mountain views, plus lots of aboriginal art with motifs painted in numerous caves include depictions of humans, human hands, animal tracks and birds.

  1. get a cheap memory card (as of June 2010, you can get a gigabyte for about two dollars. However, many people have an old one laying around, probably because they bought a larger one than the one that came with their camera in the first place).
  2. put a note and/or label on the card to let the finder know what’s up. A post-it probably won’t do it, unless yours are WAY stickier than mine. Feel free to use the name of this site if you like, or abbreviate the idea much better than I’ve been able to do so far (I’m long-winded, I know…)
  3. take some pictures! No real problem there, though you may want to keep in mind a few things:
    • there’s really no guarantee someone won’t just take the card and keep it for themselves. So don’t take any pictures that you can’t live without, obviously.
    • Remember the Message in a Memory Card website has a failsafe: when a message that you’ve found is submitted, you must let the website know where you left the card. Hopefully this will reduce the chance of a broken chain!

    • no matter what happens, the pictures will end up in the public domain. Be smart, be safe, be sensible about what you photograph…and be prepared just in case it goes viral (not likely, but it could happen…)
    • on the other hand, it doesn’t necessarily have to be totally anonymous. If you like your face, your house, your car, go right ahead and put it in the picture. I’d personally hesitate to show addresses, license plates, that sort of thing, but maybe I’m just paranoid.
    • not only that, it can be a more meaningful variation of the idea to ask the photographers to take a picture of a specific location, showing where they found the card (or where they left it!). Twists like this bring the idea closer to geocaching (which we’ll discuss on another page, if we have time…)

* * Update * *
I love the outdoors. I was just outside washing my truck the other day thinking to myself that the weather is perfect. I don’t know if you have ever been to Las Vegas but there are not too many times during the year that the weather can be described in this fashion. The weather here is actually too hot or too cold almost all of the time. I am not saying that I can not stand it when it is hot or when it is cold. I am just saying that the perfect weather lasts for between 4-6 weeks in spring then again for 4-6 weeks in fall. That is how I see it. On the other hand I like to get away during the really brutal months in the summer and head to South America for some ski time. I love the powder-topped mountains of Argentina. Las Leñas is probably my favorite. It is renowned for its steep terrain and adrenalin pumping double-black diamond chutes. While it has something for everyone, it has become a mecca for extreme skiing and snowboarding. You should see the elite skiers in their colorful Descente ski jackets and contrasting pants. Descente ski wear is fashionable, elegant and sophisticated appealing to both top notch and beginner skiers.

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