My Sunshiny Life

The day of the Shoot Experience treasure hunt around Portobello had finally arrived and I was excited, but a little bit nervous as well. The theme was performance (go jazz hands!) and we were encouraged to bring props along, but lacking time and not knowing what to expect we just turned up and hoped for the best.

The Snappy Chicks team was comprised of Me, Koi-lee and Missy G. Before we set off we were shown a slideshow of the best photos from past competitions, and if we weren’t a little apprehensive about our lack of artistic ability before, then we certainly were now. With amazing photos like; a flying carpet (a stool and fishing wire used to excellent effect), a bus flying over London Bridge (a miniature bus thrown up in the air and captured at JUST the right second) and the picture that still has me puzzled is the ‘Back to the Future’ themed pic, where there is a car with a flame stretching out behind it. Perhaps lighter fluid on the road?… Health and safety issues people!!

We got our list of clues and looked at each other blankly.  Sheeeee-it, what were we going to do, these were a whole lot harder than we thought.  Even looking at a cryptic crossword makes me break out into a sweat!  Inspiration and shutterbug knowhow to make the shot ‘award winning’ had been a concern, but not having ANY idea about the clue answer wasn’t something that had crossed our minds. We sat and pondered, then we searched for the terms on google… then we rang Dan. He said he’d look into it on the internet. We went and bought a drink and stood there, undecided as to what to do now. Then inspiration hit! We headed off in the direction of the easiest clue – ok, now we faced our second problem. How do we make the shot look good? The prize (and let’s face it, kudos is the best prize) was for the best artistic interpretation of the clue answer, not just a point and shoot kind of random shot. Bugger.

We did our best and came up with this shot for the clue that lead us to the church by Powis Square.


Channelling power (or something like that)

Channeling power was part of the clue and it might not be so obvious from this photo but there is water being channeled by the hands in a prayer pose. We had to borrow a ladder off a group of builders, who had been watching bemused as Missy G tried to scale the side of the building in a little dress.

Here is another clue – treading the boards under a Royal Albert.  It was the Gate Theatre in Notting Hill, above the Prince Albert pub.  So we’re treading the board, an emery board!  See what we did there, d’ya get it, do you?

Treading the boards

Treading the boards


The day was SO much fun and we did end up getting all of our clues solved, which totally caught us by surprise. Now we’re not saying we didn’t get help, but knowing who to ask is just as valuable as knowing the answer yourself. We had some great ideas that would have been great if they’d come off, like putting Koi-lee in a washing machine for the clue ‘in the round’. The other idea we had for this one was photographing a preggy ladies belly. We asked one and she wasn’t so keen. Then we saw these results on the slideshow of all the images at the end of the day. It’s a little harder to think totally differently to others – an idea that seemed unique to us had occurred to at least 5 other groups.

We thought some of our photos sucked and were heartened to hear from other teams that they weren’t so confident about their photographic ability either. Except the team that said that to us won the entire competition. Go figure. Here we are with that team collaborating on their performance photo – this isn’t the winning shot though.



We had a deadline of 4pm to get our memory stick with the 8 photo entries on it back to the appointed meeting place. Just a small problem. We were over the other side of Notting Hill, so Dan was called in to duty.  He posed as an extra in one of our shots and then he scootered the memory stick over for us, leaving us to walk back at a more leisurely pace. We got to the pub and sank gratefully into chairs with cold drinks to hand.  We were tuckered out after walking the length and breadth of Notting Hill.

It was now time to see the slideshow of images and the prize giving.  People laughed as some truly hilarious images came up, but no one made any reaction to ours. So I started to make comments about our own photos to try and muster some support. Truth is though, we were right when we said we sucked, BUT we know a lot more for the next competition.

Tips to remember for next time; colour works. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know the exact place of the clue – the overall interpretation of the clue is more important and artistic interpretation in it’s very nature is obscure. There were many sheepish winners who had to admit they had no idea what the clue answer was, so they’d just made something up. Big bold images are very well received, subtleties like reflections in glasses and distant reflections in mirrors are totally lost in the mix.

In the Round

In the Round

So we’re all amped for the next shoot experience and we’re going to get a much bigger group of our friends involved. The next experience is at the Tate Modern in May and the format is being turned on it’s head as we’re all given a part of the story to photograph, with the complete story being revealed at the end of the day. Check out the website at for more info.

I propose regular committee meetings to discuss creative ideas and maybe even a few workshops. Until then my props bag and creative genius is on standby!


et cetera