Good Afternoon guys!

I’m sitting at my campsite in the Great Smoky Mountains reflecting on the photography workshop that we just wrapped up this weekend.  Gone are the biting winds and frigid temperatures of the higher elevations at o’dark thirty.  The sun is hot above, the skies mostly clear, and the only sound the tumble of water over mossy rock in the nearby stream (well, except for the occasional Harley motoring through the campground looking for a quiet spot for the evening…so, it’s almost perfect).

By now most everyone is highway bound, en route to their own realities:  jobs, families, soft beds and good food–can you tell what I’m thinking about?!  My reality for the coming week is much like you experienced during this past weekend:  early mornings, long days, tired nights, drastic temperature shifts, constantly wet boots, and, hopefully, the occasional magic moment of light and atmosphere.  I’m able to create this reality for myself in large part because of the support and engagement that each of you contributed this weekend with your choice of a Mountains to Sea photography workshop.  You’re quite literally the reason that I’m able to live this lifestyle and I’m extremely grateful to each of you for that.

I just want to thank everyone for their choice of Mountains to Sea photography workshops, and to thank Tommy & Alistair for the chance to partner up in an effort to engage aspiring photographers on their own paths towards utilizing the visual language of photography to tell the story of place.  Each of you were extremely welcoming and easy to work with this weekend, and I can say without reservation that across the board I look forward to seeing the photographs that you captured from our adventure!

Remember that photographs are tools to communicate with others–they utilize a visual language to interpret not only the physical attributes of place, but also the emotions and thoughts of the photographer behind the lens.  The artist drives the process and the more that we all engage the hard work of figuring out who we are (and who we want others to see us as) the better we’ll be able to communicate through our photographs.  Place matters.  Putting your lens in front of beautiful stuff is the key to photography!  The capture–f-stops, depth of field, iso etc.–is the critical bridge translating what your head and heart see to the little black box that you laboriously carry in your pack around trails and streams.  Practice the capture frequently and realize that no one is perfect.  Replace the frustration of “missing” shots with the knowledge that next time you’ll be closer to realizing your vision.  If you put in the work on the front end with yourself, your location and your capture, processing the photograph will be purposeful and thus arguably both more efficient and more enjoyable.  And finally, share those images!  An image not seen cannot fulfill its purpose!

As for me, I’m bound for a trail somewhere in search of something appealing and with hopes of sweet light and soft winds.  Photos or no, the experience will be my personal great success–the realization of intentional choices and the help of folks like yourself who engage me and my photography.  Thank you again for a great weekend, a great experience, and a great Spring in the Smokies workshop.  I look forward to seeing you all on the trail in the near future!

Until next time…

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