Every year, a buddy of mine from work goes to great lengths to host Urban Photo Safari. The idea is a simple one, but supremely cool. Grab your digital camera, and go out and take cool pictures for four hours. Bring them back, upload them all to a central location, and then be "peer reviewed" by other participants. The winner gets... I dunno, I think some sort of gift certificate... but most importantly, they receive adulation (and envy) of his/her peers. (The winning photo is featured in this post.)
In all honesty, the competition is really ancillary. What's fun is getting up, grabbing a nice espresso from Homer's, and finding interesting places to go to take pictures. We hit the Overland Park farmer's market, Whole Foods, Bichelmeyer Meats, Dressler's Dog Supply, a random swap-n-shop, and Merriam Feed Lawn & Garden Center. (Do you detect a trend here? Food and dogs dominate my life.)
Anyhow, all locations were target-rich photo environments (like, um, a meat locker with 40 head of pigs and cattle hanging from meathooks??). And this year, we gave each kid a digital camera and THEY took the pictures. It was cool too see the world through the eyes of the kids (I'm assuming their real eyesight isn't as blurred as their photosight). And it was even cooler to see the eyes through 40-some friends, co-workers, and total strangers that took part in UPS.
If you live in the KC area, I strongly encourage you to participate next year. If you don't live around here, check out the gallery anyhow. It's proof there's some mighty talented shutterbugs in our midst. You might be one, too.