The “See Your World” photography workshop happened last week, right here in my Truckee/Lake Tahoe region. It was my first event in the U.S.!
Read on… or listen on! I record most blog posts into audio episodes for your listening pleasure. 😉
For the past 3 years, I’ve been leading “The Artist’s Voice” photography retreats in France. This year, I wanted to see if I could surmount the challenges of holding retreats in the Lake Tahoe region (park permits, transportation, safety, weather, etc. all make it, shall we say, exciting for one person alone to produce.
Lucky me! I found a fantastic co-conspirator for these events, in Patty Baird – owner of the Cedar House Sport Hotel in Truckee. We’re like two peas in a pod, she and I; full of energy, vision and a desire to bring the AWE-someness! Cedar House was home base for us on this workshop; she took care of the behind-the-scenes details, allowing me to focus on my people. A match made in heaven!
Plus, the immensely talented Dan Bailey and Lauri Novak came along as my guests; they each have a unique way of seeing and visual storytelling – and it was fantastic to have them with us, sharing their thoughts along the way.
The icing on the cake was having Fujifilm gear on hand for everyone to try who wanted to. My good friend and Fujifilm rep Barney Tong brought the goods and so much good cheer!
It was yet another fabulous gathering of like-minded, awesomesauce creative travelers!
Seeing… photographically or otherwise, means showing up in unique, authentic and open-minded ways. I use those 3 words intentionally:
Unique: because there is only one YOU!
Authentic: meaning you’re 100% honest about what you love to see, want to see and need to see. People who are being – and seeing – authentically are being true to their personality, spirit, loves and preferences – with no pretensions or apologies.
Open-minded: a state of willingness to let go of what you think you know, in order to let you muse and imagination bubble up show and you a thing or two about what is possible in ways that you may never have dreamed of before!
In all of these ways, seeing photographically is as much about living life as an art as it is creating art. For three days, we did both!
There are creative possibilities everywhere. But dangit, I wanted my group to get to play in the snow! We’ve had a very dry winter around here, vs. the epic snowfall we experienced last year. But I never gave up hope; springtime in the Sierras can be off the hook, if Mother Nature is in the mood.
And guess what… she GOT in the mood, dropping 4 feet of snow in town 4 days before the workshop! I was jumping for joy!
When the day arrived… conditions were exactly as I hoped, dreamed and prayed they’d be!
Here’s a fun video I made to remember it all by, taken just two days before the workshop was set to start:
(the first two segments were taken at Cedar House Sport Hotel – it was so storybook!)
a’Scouting we will go…
The day before the workshop, I did some scouting… just to make sure that my locations were all a go and sufficiently decked out in all its finery.
VERDICT: Yesiree Bob, it sure was!
I decided to share a bit of the scenery and some thoughts with ya while I was out there…
After that… it was a GO!!
Even the 37 year old Belgian horse pulling the sleigh at Lake Tahoe seemed to be eagerly looking forward – to everything!
DAY 1: CEDAR HOUSE SPORT HOTEL
We gathered in the late afternoon at this gorgeous place, for wine and crudités, followed by introductions, a presentation I gave about Seeing Photographically – and the lowdown on what all we’d be doing for next couple of days.
After that, we enjoyed a fabulous group dinner at Moody’s Bistro – one of my favorite restaurants in Truckee! No pics from there… we all decided to put our cameras down and enjoy the food, the laughter and the moment, along with each other’s company.
DAY 2: Lake Tahoe!
We visited Lake Tahoe on Day #2, with a long day planned in one location. I did that on purpose, since one of the the things that pulls the shades down on seeing creative possibilities is imagining that you’ve shot all the pixels a place has to offer. THEN what?
So spending all day in one place – including sunset – meant we had to move slowly, mindfully, listening all the while to what our muse and the creative force had to say …
Moments along the way…
We took a well-earned lunch break at the lovely Lone Eagle Grill, right on the lake. Afterward, we ventured out back for some photo fun… including giggles with the tamest, sweetest duck I’ve ever met!
Day 3: Donner State Park
I love Donner State Park. The forest there is simply divine, offering photo opps galore even for those who can NEVER get good shots in the woods! Most of my Family of Trees series images were taken there… with so many more to come, once I have time to process them!
I also wanted folks to have a combined snowshoe/photography. Thank you Mother Nature for the white stuff… and you, Cedar House Sport Hotel for the snowshoes to tromp through it with! Everybody had a great time with that too – and all agreed it’s WAY more work than it looks! heehee…
Margaret Gaines and Angelika Perry, being at one with the forest… .
Margaret and Lauri Novak were both members of my original K-Hutt Cohort of Awesomeness in The Arcanum, for whom I was an inception master in 2014. We’ve stayed in touch over the years… but this was the first time Margaret and I had ever seen each other in person. I hugged her so hard I hope I didn’t hurt her!
Then back to Cedar House for photo critiques
Our forest adventure wrapped – and we headed back to Cedar House for photo critiques. Each person picked 3 images that they wanted feedback on. Then we went through them on a big TV monitor, so everybody could hear the comments.
I don’t do photo critiques the way most people do – which is another blog post entirely! In fact, I get all hot and bothered about the whole topic. Suffice it to say, that throughout any of my workshops or retreat, my peeps grow in leaps and bounds as they begin to see, feel, smell and touch exactly what part of themselves to listen to – and observe how it dramatically impacts their photography.
It’s honestly amazing to me – even as long as lived it and breathed it – just how quickly these changes can occur. It’s simply a matter of listening without judgment, feeling deeply and getting out of the way of the creative force as it sweeps through you and into your camera. The process imprints your voice, your soul – into every pixel. I am constantly humbled by the results.
And like that – it was over!
Whuuuuut? I felt like I blinked and it was done! New friends, new inspiration… so many smiles and gorgeous photographs. Even more, so many stories told so brilliantly through imagery. Photography can help each of us uncover a piece inside that’s yearning to come out, but perhaps has felt timid and overshadowed by that nastyass voice in your head that you’re not an artist or creative.
To me, it’s become obvious that creativity is our natural state.
And the takeaway isn’t just the photos… it’s an awakening, a new look on life. Which, of course, is priceless.
October, here we come!
I felt energized – and also sad the workshop was over so soon. But I smiled too – because there is still my October retreat to look forward to!
Patty and I are plotting and planning even more fabulocity for that one than even WE dreamed when we started all this!
THAT’S the genius of how the creative force works.
It flows through you and everything you touch, leaving Awesomeness in its wake.
What would YOU create…
if you could do it just the way you felt it?
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