On Monday, I walked in with an empty pad of paper, prepared to talk about f-stops, shutter speeds and ISO. On Friday, I left with a full heart, ready to capture images that told a story and made a difference.
For a week, I rubbed shoulders with the best in the business, able to ask any question, whether it be technical, or about how they lived their lives, how they met the unique challenges that professional photographers face. I made friends with people with similar hopes and dreams for a hobby that might shift to a profession – and if not, would occupy a significant part of our lives. Sleep was pushed to the side, as the opportunities were endless and interesting and packed into every minute of every day.
Every evening, the lights dimmed and I was captivated by personal and emotional stories of lives spent capturing iconic moments in time. The sports photographer who became a part of an Olympic athlete’s family. The woman who spent time studying elephant vocalizations and who now finds a quiet place to watch and wait for smaller animals to frolic for her camera. The reporter who followed his heart, and now follows water in his quest to solve planet-level problems. The quirky otter-loving photographer who splashed about in the viscera of animals to get the perfect shot of an unloved scavenger. Each night, I hoped the lights would not come up before the tears that had welled up in my eyes dried.
Reviews of my portfolio included the expected constructive recommendations, and less-expected genuine appreciation and praise. Surprisingly, the reviews also shifted to conversations about hope and beauty – and how to tap these basic human values through photography to raise awareness and solve problems that resonate deeply.
I joined the workshop in search of images of a majestic mountain range and the wildlife that inhabits it. Instead, the workshop fed a sense of purpose, sparked a renewed energy to make a difference, and showed me the most amazing examples to follow to make the world a better place.
Should you be interested in attending one of these workshops, the information can be found here:
The Summit Series of Workshops