Monday, March 08, 2010

Weekend and Workshop Review

This past weekend and photography workshop was so wonderful that I wanted to diary it immediately so that I could keep the memories for the future. The sieve that I call a brain is just not cutting it these days (smirk)! I posted a few photos on my previous post for you to view.

The weekend began a little early this past Thursday, right after work. After my wonderful son picked me up and dropped me of at the airport, I met my dear friend Grace and hopped a plane for The Country Music Capitol of the World - Nashville! STOP...NOT SO FAST....15 to 20 minutes after takeoff, the pilot's voice came over the speakers with a message that no passenger ever wants to hear.....


What?!? After I heard those words, my first emotion was confusion. Is this man joking? You know how S*outhWest Airlines is; they are notorious jokesters right?!? But nobody would joke tens of thousand of feet in the air about bad news and I was correct as he went on to explain that we had hit something on the way up and "it" was banging on the side of the plane. They needed to make an emergency landing in Orlando.

I am a "white knuckle" flyer of the first order. I really hate to fly but I do...I have never let it stop me, which is quite obvious since I traveled around the world twice to adopt two children but I totally abhor it. Panic was the first order of business for me and thankfully, I was next to my buddy Grace who was feeling a little upset herself but went into nurture mode when she saw my level of panic was higher than hers. We held hands and kinda huddled close together while she talked about a million other things that would take my mind off of what was happening. I love that woman. We had a bit of a lighthearted moment when the gentleman sitting on the other side of me looked over (while wearing headphones) and saw us holding hands and decided that he needed to know what was going on. Wonder what he was thinking?? I told him and he looked a little upset himself. He travels A LOT for business and he had never experienced this either. You know I had to ask him. The three of us became fast friends as we talked non stop on our decent. Of course, we landed safely and other than the fact that the pilot landed the plane so hot that I thought we were going to go skidding off the runway, we were the no worse for wear. Then, maintenance checked the plane and after determining that the bird strike did no real damage, sent us on our way. Of course, many people had now missed their late night connections and had to be put up in hotels. The free drinks were flowing to them and things got a LITTLE interesting to say the least. It was quite the show!

We got to Nashville and settled in. We had chosen, upon Michael Howard's recommendation, a lovely hotel close to the workshop that was perfect for the two of us. We enjoyed a late dinner and then went back to the room to try to chill before our first day of the workshop. After talking and laughing for quite awhile, Grace's brain knew that she was tired but my brain was not cooperating after all of the excitement of the evening, so it was a much later night for me and our wake up call came way too soon the next morning!

The first day of workshop started with a bang. After securing a much desired coffee for Grace and hot chocolate for me, we were off to the location. Of course, we did not know exactly where we were going so we walked in late and with a grand entrance as we normally do. We were told to sit with two women who were already ready and waiting to go. Rhiannon and Amber, our new table mates became fast friends. We all clicked was great. After meeting Michael and having a little breakfast the session began. The discussion was about creative vision and I was able to take away many little gems from the session in order to find my path in this new field of study I have chosen. He also drove the point home about making sure that no matter what work that you do for pay, that it is important that you continue to pursue your private work in order to continue to feel the passion that we feel for this form of art. After lunch we were able to begin photographing a model with the use of available light and reflectors. Then it was on to a lesson on off camera flash. Once we were done with that, we split off with our group for candid photo shoots around the wonderful location that Michael had chosen for this workshop. There were so many photo ops was awesome. We fed off of each other's energy and had a total blast with the shoot. We finished up our day with a Lightroom 2 demo and then broke for the evening with a homework assignment.

Famished, Grace and I went to dinner before attempting to begin our work. We shared good food and wonderful conversation and laughter. Then we headed back to our hotel for our assignment. We completed our assignment but it really was a miracle that we did because by this time we were uber silly and just about peeing our pants every other minute from laughing so hard. We did gather ourselves long enough to compile photos from the day for critique the next day....gulp!

The next day was awesome....there was more lecture and then we launched into critique which was so beneficial to us. We began to understand how to truly pull apart a photo and judge it objectively and then subjectively. Not only Michael critiqued them but we were part of it as well. The feedback was all taken in the light that it was given and was a true learning experience. Grace and I felt proud that we held our own during critique as we were the newest photographers there. We finished up with a discussion of the history of Photography and we learned so much there as well.

I must say that Michael Howard met and exceeded all of my expectations. This was his first workshop but he has such a vast breathe of experience as well as a true gift for this art form that he was able to impart to us. I would definitely take more workshops from this wonderful and kind gentleman. He gave me the gift of confidence in my talent. Thank you Michael!

I also received the gift of new friendship in Amber and Rhiannon. We have formed a bond of friendship, support and networking. I also received the special gift of sharing a this very special time with my dear friend Grace. We had such a blast and we "get" each other on so many levels. I have not laughed like that in a long time. I will never forget the last night of our trip just sitting in our room, going over photos, facebooking, sharing music that we liked, talking about our lives and laughing till we could not laugh anymore. Being away with her was just the best. We both missed our families but treasured the wonderful time in space that we shared together.

We even had the additional good fortune to meet with two very special people in my life through adoption. I met Diane and Laura online five years ago while we were waiting for Katie Starr's referral. We shared our last morning there with them and Diane's two daughters. It was like we had always known each other and just were catching up after being apart for a couple of days....what a joy! Adoption mama's are the best!!

Lastly, there was a woman photographer by the name of Julia Margaret Cameron, that Michael mentioned in his history lesson. Her career lasted a relatively short time (11 years) and it began at what was the ripe old age of 48 back in the 1800's. It was a very important and influential career. She had a lot to say and she said it through her photographic art.

48 is my age. I intend to make the coming years as meaningful with my photography as Julia did.

I know that this is a learning and growing time for me and that I will continue to do that in this and many areas in my life. I know that I will bring the joy of catching a moment in time to others and for myself, for as long as I live...that is what photography is to me.


Teresa said...

Well, I'm happy to hear you got through the flight. I'd rather they land the plane and find out the problem rather than continue the flight. Passenger safety above all else!

The workshop sounds great! Keep it up! You may just have an early Grandma Moses career ahead of you!

Mary McG in TN said...

Lori, What I read from your post is that you laughed. Not just a twitter, but real honest to goodness laugh! I am hoping that it also told me that the stresses of the past year are ebbing. This post made me joyous! I am all about laughter and that it is good for the soul. YEAH! Maybe now I cannot worry so much. (I am the WORLD's best) Glad you had fun.

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