Since January I've been waiting for March 23rd. (This is Denise, btw.) That's when I booked a photographer workshop with one of the most beloved and respected in the industry. Tamara Lackey is an icon and one of my personal all-time favorites. So it's easy to understand why waiting three months to meet her in person was, well, hard to put out of my mind. The workshop landed smack in the middle of spring break, so my other job didn't have to suffer my missing. Only meant Jerry had full time daddy duty to our kids. He's done it before with glowing success. I actually think they all like it when I'm gone for overnight trips. They eat all day and all night!
I sort-of started my photojournalistic journey getting to my airport gate. Actually took a picture of my smoothie cup on my suit case. Classy. Took a picture of my awaiting, really dinky, puddle-jumper jet, even have some of puffy-white clouds as we were descending into Raleigh-Durham Airport. Once I arrived and checked in to my very comfortable hotel, (took a pic of the Chic-Filet outside and sent it to Jerry :) I contacted Tamara's studio manager Sarah. Ahhh Sarah. One day when Jerry and I have our big studio, really hope I can find my own Sarah. She's dreamy. I'll get more detailed about Sarah later, but since I had NO idea where I was in relation to the workshop I was feeling helpless.
Our workshop started at 9 AM so I had 16 hours to figure it out. No problem. Sarah said the studio was behind PF Changs. Which was on the other side of the mall. Which was right in front of the hotel. Get the picture. Could have taken a shuttle provided by the hotel, but it was NICE out. Actually, it was warmer there than in Florida that day. Go figure! They don't have that blasted humidity though, so it felt perfect for a nice, long walk. I didn't tote my bulky pro camera, just my Iphone. Embarking on my adventure I hardly got out of the hotel parking lot and was struck by the light pink blooms blanketing a little tree. Reminded me of those cheery cherry blossoms from Japan, but these were different. Learned later they are some sort of pear tree. I happily proceeded on my way to find PF Changs and the studio when this really nice high-end mall stood right before me. It's entrance was graced by an Apple store. Had to take a picture of that! Jerry would have been all a buzz. He gets like that around Apple stores. Every time. It's actually fun to watch. Anyway there was a Bose store, too and almost took a picture of that for my Jer-Bear, but it might have put him over the edge, so I decided against it. The mall was way bigger on the inside. Cavernous actually. A friendly security guard pointed me in the direction of Changs and was once again happily on my way.
I've never been on a scavenger hunt, but I definitely felt like I was on one. I'd say I'm pretty resourceful and may take on the challenge sometime. Once outside again I came across more unique flowers. Took a pic and was bravely leaving the mall. Once over the parking lot and up a hill I saw the distinct look of a Chang's. Had to cross a semi-busy four lane road, but once there it was like the end of my hunt was nearing and I knew I was darn close. Any guesses what I did when I found the sign for Tamara's studio? That's right! I took a picture :). Took two actually. Put one on Twitter and tagged the studio. Tamara mentioned it the next day. She said she liked it better than the one she paid for. I think I blushed when she said that in front of everyone. Silly Iphone actually rocks.
The first day of the workshop was teaching. Eating (thanks to Sarah ;) And taking pictures. I took pictures of people taking pictures. And flowers. No surprise.
Well needless to say the entire workshop was worth every ounce of effort my family and I expended. I came away with a new sense of my place in professional photography and what I want to be known for: images that invoke an emotional, visceral response. Sounds simple but not easy to produce. And I came away changed because I want to teach others someday.