Corvallis, Oregon. It just happens to be where I live. It’s a funny little town. Depending on your perspective, it can have a number of personalities (like most towns) – but if you’re a college sports fan (or a local student), it’s the home of the Oregon State Beavers – for the rest of us, it’s either a place to work, raise the kids, or retire (or maybe all of the above). Some people absolutely love this town – some feel just the opposite. I’m probably somewhere in the middle. If this town took an honest look at itself in the mirror – it might see that it’s a bit high on it’s own fumes – but that’s the risk of living in this little, mostly sleepy, town of crossroads.
That said – I’ve never really found this town to be all that picturesque. It has a bit of downtown with some history – as just about every little town in Oregon does. It is what it is – and – I think it’s a pretty difficult place to schlep a camera. This all made it a great assignment to give Isaac (former Tribe player) – with his new Canon 30D and spiffy 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5 Sigma lens – before his year overseas for school. He was heading to Austria for the next nine months – with an uncountable list of side destinations – filled with big history, cozy towns, and stunning seascapes. If he could adjust to his new gear and make Corvallis look good – he would likely be up on the learning curve before hitting Europe (maybe I’ll discuss this in depth in a later post – but there’s a bit of re-learning photography when switching to a DSLR). Second, he and I could compare notes and images after the shoot.
So, about a year ago (he’s back now) – we were up early and wandering around on a Saturday morning looking for our images of Corvallis. It was a pretty good exercise. Some would have called this a “photo walk” – but regardless of what you call it – I can only recommend to get out and shoot your town. It’s likely more difficult than you think – and I found it to be a good challenging assignment. And really try to avoid your local cliches – they’re a good place to start as you snarf down that first cup of coffee – but after that – become the local telling a new story to other locals.