Saturday, September 22, 2012

Nothing short of {Amazing}

It was a normal Friday afternoon and I was checking emails when I got home from work, there was an email from my favorite photographer, the email was titled "3 Things".  I can't remember what the first 2 things were, but the 3rd one made me jump up and down, squeal and do a little happy dance.  The 3rd thing on the list was about a "Hometown Workshop" she was putting on in September, and there were only 9 spots available! I responded to her email without a second thought, without running it by my husband, without knowing if I had anyone to help with my kids!!  Can I just tell you how happy I was that I read my emails that afternoon when I did, otherwise I would have missed out on one of the best experiences of my life!

I have stalked  followed  Karen's blog for quite a few years.  It was one of those blogs that I book marked as soon as I found it and spent hours reading back and check daily.  Her stories and photography drew me in. She documents her life through her blog the way I want to but never do, she writes about the good and the bad, the funny and not so funny things that life throws our way.  She is real, she is honest, and what you see is what you get with her.  After following her blog, when I did finally get to meet her in person a few years ago at a 1-day Photography Workshop, it felt like I had known her for years.  In January 2011 I finally was able to audit in her online Photographers Workshop and I learned so so much!  Karen puts 110% into everything she does, her on-line class is completely worth the investment in your time and money. 

I'm pretty sure I made my family crazy between July and September,  I was so excited for this workshop!  I was so excited to hang out with Karen, meet in person a few friends from the online workshop, get away for a little me time.  These 5 days were everything I could have imagined and more.  It is so hard to put into words the instant bond that was felt between 12 women who didn't know each other before we arrived at the beautiful historical Hanna House, but had the love for photography and Karen that clearly bound us together.

And one of the nicest surprises was when Karen's "acquaintance" arrived to drive us to our shooting location.  I thought it was an interesting choice of words and I also thought it was interesting the group was  the 4 of us from the 2011 class, we joked we were being voted out of the Hanna House!  Imagine our surprise (especially Lisa's!!!) when Jules, from our 2011 class, showed up. Soooooo much fun!

Our days were full of learning, shooting, eating, more learning, more shooting, more eating, and in between tons of laughter and even some tears.  I told someone as I was laughing so hard my stomach hurt how amazed I was that there could be such an extreme range of emotions in such a short amount of time, clearly we didn't do well staying between a 4 and a 7 girls!!!

As the family photographer there are not many photos of me, (I even had to ask Steph if she had a cute photo of me for one of my class assignments!) mostly I like being on the other side of the camera, so that works out ok.  And if I do hand off my camera I usually don't like the results of the photos, so I just stay behind the lens.  This workshop made all of us come out of our comfort zone, and be the subject instead of the photographer.  It was quite interesting have 3 or 4 lenses pointed at you all at once!  I haven't seen many of the photos of myself as they are on my friends cameras, but I did get this one and am happy to have a pretty photo of myself.

I feel blessed to have been a part of one of the first Hometown Workshops.  I have made 12 new wonderful friends and we are already working on a plan for yearly reunions! 

Karen, I hope you realize that it is because of you and your love of photography and your willingness to give so much of yourself to your students, that we have all walked away from this workshop changed.  God is using you in an awesome way in everything you do, don't forget that!!!  I know it was difficult and I know it took you away from your beautiful family and I feel so happy to have been on the receiving end of Gods blessings. Thank you . . . for or taking a chance, for sacrificing your time and family, for all of your creative goodness, for sharing all of your photography knowledge so willingly with us, for sharing your family with us!  It was soooooo worth it, completely amazing . . . and I sure didn't walk away wishing I had spent the money on a new lens!