Saturday, September 7, 2013

How Items Made It Onto the Scavenger Hunt List

Item #3 City Hall, Capitol or other Civic Building
The 2013 Summertime Scavenger Hunt is winding down - there's just two weeks left to find all the items.  I made a quick trip out today to take a few photographs of our local City Hall, which used to be a bank.  I had planned to go to downtown San Francisco to photograph this beautiful building, but I decided it might be more interesting for you to see a small town city hall instead.  I hope you like this peek into my home town!
Several people have asked how I selected the items for the Scavenger Hunt, so I thought I would share my thought process.  
First, I I want to create a list of items that is do-able, but will be also be a challenge.  It should require both effort and luck to get all the way through it.  But it should not be impossible.  To make sure it's not impossible, most of the items are flexible enough that they can be interpreted in several different ways.  Finally, I want the list to be fun and a little quirky!
Second, my goal is to create a list that will encourage people to get out and explore! Since it's a summertime scavenger hunt, I focus on items which would be found on a typical summery outing. I am very aware that participants in the Hunt live all around the world - so the items need to be things that can be found in any country. And, they can't be too summery because many of the participants live in the southern hemisphere where it is winter!
Third, I include some everyday items that people can find simply by wandering around their town. For these, I try to include things that could be interesting photographically or that would show interesting differences across countries.
Finally, I will often include items that I want to photograph personally or which remind me of some of my favorite blog friends. 
So, based on these ideas: the open air market, sunset, plane, someone napping, zoo animal, and fisherman were all things that seemed summery to me.  A theatre, city hall, local/coffee or tea shop, and tower are all things that could be found by taking a little trip.  The fence, candle, and bench are all commonplace things that could be photographed in an interesting way (and my blog friend Carola loves fences).  The funny sign, something that doesn't belong and cloud in the shape of something are items requiring a little luck and imagination. The stained glass item is on the list for my cousin Irene; the dinosaurs are there for Stacey. I was curious about the different police/fire trucks that could be found around the globe. The windmill was a challenging item (kindof like the unicycle from last year).  I love windmills and wanted to see what people would find. And, truly, I haven't been disappointed!
I've mentioned before that the original idea for the scavenger hunt started with a contest which the San Jose Mercury News runs each year.  Here's their list for 2013:
  • o Building that's shaped like something else
  • o Neon sign at night
  • o Rack of postcards
  • o Funny bumper sticker
  • o Unusual wild animal (not in a zoo)
  • o Historic statue or marker
  • o Abandoned pay phone
  • o Elbow in on someone else's tourist/family photo op
  • o Water tower
  • o Police officer eating
  • o Tacky souvenir
  • o Street performer
  • o Dead end
  • o A restaurant sign that's unappetizing
  • o Exotic-looking plant or tree
  • o Someone reading a book
  • o Unusual hat
  • o Overloaded truck
  • o Merry-go-round
  • o Something unusual not on this list
Also, my friend Young Nancy was the one who turned me onto the whole idea because her family runs a scavenger hunt.  So, those are my thoughts on what made the list and why. I'd love your feedback on what items you liked and whether there were any you really hated!  Also, be sure to check back in on September 21 for the final link up and opportunity to win a few prizes!


Bernice Hopper said...

Thank you for sharing how the list came about. I've only got one left to capture. The coffee shop. You would have thought I'd have got that one early on!

Amy said...


I have noticed your lists evolve Rinda, that was why I was so interested in how you chose the items. Nothing is too hard perse, but quite a few are down to luck!

I really like the idea of common items such as the police/firetrucks, admin buildings etc as it is fun to see regional differences. This year, the one that struck me as being similar world wide was the outdoor market - especially the farmers market variety ... really, I struggled to see a difference between countries.

During the course of taking my photos I did think it would be interesting to see things like native plants, a typical meal/cuisine/drink, the local park, train station ... though I know you have done trains before. The challenging/quirky ones are the best though ... I could have found you several very unusual letterboxes this year - just the way it turned out ... everywhere I turned I saw a weird/elaborate letterbox!

Lesley G said...

How interesting!
I've loved every part of your selection and my personal scavenge. There were a few (dinosaur, windmill) that did scare me but to be honest all the photos have been easily found at some point.
Thank you for taking the time and I can't wait for the next one :)

Unknown said...

I'm sorry I missed most of the scavenger hunting time but I'll see if I can find some of these things on your list. Sounds like fun! I like your images of City's always nice when flags are waving a bit in the breeze!

Fiona@Staring at the Sea said...

It's very interesting to read how you come up with the list. I have found this year's list very doable (other than that pesky cloud!) whereas when I looked at it the first year I thought there were quite a lot of items I wouldn't find and consequently didn't join in. We were going windmill hunting this morning, until it poured down and we wimped out!

BJ said...

I've really enjoyed the hunt (my first time) some items were a little tricky but it would seem that artist's licence is allowed. Some items were a jolly accident (my fire engine whilst taking a photo of our town hall) and others required some thought and a little trip out (the tower is often seen from a distance but actually finding its actual whereabouts and getting there proved a little taxing as my husband took me on a wild goose chase thinking he knew where it was - but he didn't) We did a geocaching challenge every day for August so I was glad I got it done early. I have a few piccys for the final entry though. BJ

~*~Patty S said...

Fun to read how you selected your items Rinda...
thanks again for the fun...
The San Jose list is interesting too!
Your town hall looks nice with some great reflections in the full view...
I just posted Part 2 of 3 for sharing my scavenger photos...

Irene said...

It is an interesting conversation when my family and friends get together. We all enjoy playing along as I ask them where to find difficult items like a dinosaur or a sundial. Thanks for hosting the hunt.

Becky said...

Fascinating to read how you chose the items for the hunt! I didn't have much trouble with any really, apart from the substitute item of person dressed in something that represents your country so didn't get annoying for that! Hugh and Penny both got involved too and it made for a rip in summer, thanks for organising it xx

Julia said...

I'm so glad you shared your process of selection - really interesting to read! My feedback is all good - it's made me take photos of things I may have passed by and stopped to pause a while. I'm really hoping I find the rest of the things before the 21st and can't wait for next year. Unless we can persuade you to do a winter list...

Alison said...

Great to read how you came up with all those items!
Alison xx

Karen said...

Great post! I loved reading about the process. The unicycle from two years ago was the only item I've ever found totally frustrating---though I have yet to find a pirate that I thought would qualify. I'm grateful this year for the two bonus items. I finally found one of those I can substitute for the clouds since we're still looking for something recognizable. We've had a lot of laughs looking, though. I love how interactive the scavenger hunt is. My family and any friends we're traveling with get right into it!

Melissa said...

Thanks for sharing your process Rinda! I enjoyed all the items on the list (& last year's list). I found it challenging, fun, and have truly enjoyed seeing everyone's photos from around the world - it's like a geography/culture lesson all rolled together.

I just have one bonus item left - wasn't sure where I could find it; however Cheri will be in town tomorrow & assures me I'll be able to find one at her mother's house! :>)

Sian said...

A fun post to read! I like the items which are a challenge and the ones which let us see more ordinary things from the perspective of someone from a different country. I think we all learn a lot from it and I appreciate the time and thought you put into choosing every year. Thanks Rinda!

Ladkyis said...

I like that I can weave a tale around most of the pictures. I LOVE that my family join in even if they don't actually come online and join in, if you see what I mean. This year both my daughter and my youngest son have shown me pictures from the list so next time I will make sure that I have space in the album for extra pictures - Thank you for giving us something that ensures we talk to each other about more things than just family problems

nancy y said...

I think you picked some really great items, and sadly I did not get around to participating. Our family took a break this year - I think the organizers were a bit burnt out and a few "teams" too!

My summer was busy with other things that kept my mind from the task. I hope to try next year!

Jo Murray said...

Hi Rinda..will be home tomorrow from my trip with a full list of photos from the hunt. Great subjects!!! Oddly enough the sundial was hardest to find, but I found a strange one in a museum in Paris.
First job when I get home will be to find the pics from the thousands I took. Thanks again for organising the's always fun.

Susanne said...

It's great to hear the back story on where the idea came from. I've often thought it would be fun to do a mini album of water tower shots from all the little towns that have their names blazoned across them.

Susan said...

It's so interesting to know how you came up with the list. I've had so much fun with the challenge this summer, and it really did get us out and exploring a bit. I've only got one photo left to take - #21. Figures I've left that one to the very end since I have to take a photo of myself! Thanks so much for doing this.

ComfyMom~Stacey said...

"An unusual hat"
I think that should be on the list for next year. I have no idea where I will ever see one (even usual hats are rare) but I like the idea of looking for one.

Deb @ PaperTurtle said...

After reading the list from your local newspaper, I'm glad you made one up for us to follow!

This year I was able to find everything on your list and I thoroughly enjoyed doing it. I'm a little sad to see it winding down. Thanks so much for all that you do to organize the summer scavenger hunt, Rinda. It's enjoyed by so many people!

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed the scavenger hunt. It got me out and about exploring my city. Friends of mine who saw my blog posts about my finds for the hunt are keen to try it next year!

sky-blu-pink said...

Just a few more to find. I spent my holiday in Australia with my sister Pippa and family, so was able to get a few exotic shots! Catch up withnyou later on in the week when hopefully I will have completed the quest....!

Unknown said...

I love your thought process of how you choose your hunt items. I won't get all of them, but I have plans to find a few more. Rationing fuel in the car so it is a good excuse to get on my bike and ride :) Enforced exercise?!?!?!?!?!?