Orienting the Disoriented

I'm not the most directionally-gifted person. It takes me a while to get accustomed to new areas, and this is definitely something I've had to do with my internship.

My internship covers a huge area of the Kansas City Northland. Their demographics include Kearney, Smithville and Liberty, most of which are 15-20 miles apart. On an average day, I drive around 70 miles while going to the office and various events in different towns (don't worry, I'm reimbursed!).

The first week of my internship, one of my assignments was to take pictures for their Best of the Northland tabloid that is published annually. The tabloid awards local businesses who were voted Best of the Northland for things such as best dentist, best Mexican restaurant, best waitress, best bed and breakfast, etc. The Northland extends outside of the three towns The Sun News covers, so I had a much bigger area to get acquainted with.

So, I downloaded a map application on my Blackberry, printed out the addresses and set aside a couple afternoons to take pictures of storefronts. It was definitely not a fun or photogenic shoot, but I have benefitted from it since, as I know where most everything is now!

One of my first assignments was also to go to Jesse James Park and photograph orienteering. I had no idea what orienteering was, but quickly learned that it was an competition where individuals must find different points on a map. The organizer of the day's orienteering event goes out the day before and places bright orange flag-like symbols out that have hole punches attached. The hole punches are all different — the individual must find all of the symbols on a map, in order, and the one who does the course the quickest wins.

Many of the participants were seasoned athletes who had done many, many different courses. One man, Dick Newburger, had participated in orienteering events all over the world. Other participants included families who had not participated in an orienteering event before. I decided to go with these groups, as I did not thing I could keep up, since the gurus ran the course.

It was a fun day, although it was a bit hot. I don't think I could ever take part in an orienteering course by myself...unless they let me use my GPS.

All photographs copyright © Katie Currid and may not be used, published or reproduced without permission.