Tag Archives: Retreats

Beginners’ Photography Retreat

Springtime at New Skete ©Gail S. Haile

A couple of weekends ago, I got to spend some wonderful time with six other photographers, leading another Seeing with New Eyes Beginners’ Photography Retreat at New Skete Monastery.

Despite torrential rains, 65 mph winds, and a brief power outage we enjoyed this wonderful setting that is so rich in images.  Actually some of those conditions created some unique images.   No matter where you are or what the conditions there is always something to be seen, to be noticed.  Spring had just arrived on the mountain that holds New Skete Monastery and the earth was waking up from it’s hibernation.   New life, potential, and hope surrounded us.

We spent a lot of time going over the basics of how photography and our cameras work. When you know how they work, you can make decisions about what type of image you want to create rather than letting the camera decide for you.  Understanding the basics allows a photographer to create images with intention.

A video of some of the photographers’ images summarizes the weekend far better than I could with words:

And of course, this was New Skete Monastery so there were puppies and dogs!  They got their own video of images that the photographers created:

 

If you are interested in a future  photography retreat, sign up for my newsletter and you’ll be the first to know.

 

 

 

 

Deep Peace

Deep peace of the running wave to you.
Deep peace of the flowing air to you.
Deep peace of the quiet earth to you.
Deep peace of the shining stars to you.
Deep peace of the infinite peace to you.

This Gaelic blessing has been going through my head lately, in a time when there seems to be little peace.  I’ve been focusing on the good, the light, the peace that does exist to calm my thoughts.

Also, my mind has been going back to New Skete Monastery where I held the Seeing with New Eyes photography retreats last year.  It’s been going there because it is a place of peace and also because we have just scheduled another retreat there for next May.

So for today, I share some peaceful images from my time at New Skete and the hope for deep peace.

Seeing Beauty in the Ordinary

An ordinary stone, simple, smooth, small and white.  How many ways can you see that stone? How many ways can you create with that ordinary stone?  That was one of the tasks given to the participants of my Seeing with New Eyes Retreat for beginning photographers a few weeks ago at New Skete Monastery.

They were each given a small, white stone (remember my penchant for collecting stones?) and a card with instructions to carry the stone with them throughout the weekend and create a number of different images that included that stone.

“Quit trying to find beautiful objects to photograph. Find the ordinary objects so you can transform it by photographing it.” Morley Baer

Simple Stone and Instruction card ©Ginny Teed

Simple Stone and Instruction card
©Ginny Teed

It was really interesting to see how they used the stone is a wide variety of settings.  It makes you see not only the stone, but the often ordinary settings, in new ways.  (Be sure to click on the images.  They will enlarge and cycle through a slideshow so you can appreciate them more!)

“I am not interested in shooting new things – I am interested to see things new.”  Ernst Haas

Even without a camera, you can practice the art of seeing ordinary items in new ways.  Give it a try this week!

 

 

Another Photography Retreat

This past weekend found me at New Skete Monastery again, leading a photography retreat, this time with beginning photographers.  The first retreat I led was in July, also at New Skete, with advanced photographers.  This time there was more discussion about the fundamentals of photography and composition but still a great deal of time spent practicing the art of seeing.

A guiding quote for my work and my life comes from Marcel Proust, “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” As a photographer, technical skills are vital but secondary to the capacity to see. 

October beginners photography retreat participants at New Skete Monastery.

October beginners photography retreat participants at New Skete Monastery.

For all of us, seeing what is right in front of us in all it’s wonder, is often the hardest thing to do. Slowing down and paying attention is a practice that yields great rewards in many aspects of life.

“The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera.”  Dorothea Lange

It was so fun to watch these women gain control and understanding of their cameras so they could create images that showed the world the way they were seeing it.  Below are just are few of the many wonderful images they created.

 

More retreats will be scheduled.  If you would like to be notified when they are scheduled, sign up for my newsletter here and be sure to check next to “retreats”.

How will you see the world with new eyes this week?

Retreat: Part Two

This week I share a few more images that I created at the first Seeing with New Eyes Photography retreat.  In last week’s post, I shared about my dream of leading a retreat for photographers and how that dream came true.

Here are just a few more of my favorite images from my time at New Skete Monastery while leading the first advanced retreat.  

As you may see from the first three images, I really enjoyed playing with a very shallow depth of field to create beautiful bokeh.

Oregano has this beautiful blossom that the bees just love.

Oregano has this beautiful blossom that the bees just love.

With an extremely shallow depth of field, just the edge of this leaf is in focus.

With an extremely shallow depth of field, just the edge of this leaf is in focus.

This Echinacea blossom is beautiful even in it's fading.

This Echinacea blossom is beautiful even in it’s fading.

The texture of the bark on this beech tree was quite interesting.  One of the exercises the retreat participants were given was to search for interesting textures in their surroundings. I joined them in the search and really liked this particular texture.  Reminds me of an elephant’s leg.

Very interesting patterns in the bark of a beech tree.

Very interesting patterns in the bark of a beech tree.

Because the first retreat was with advanced photographers, we did quite a bit of Photoshop work.  I shared with them how I create mandalas with photographs.  The beech bark texture created this most interesting, monochromatic mandala.

Beech Tree Mandala_©GSHaile

Beech Tree Mandala_©GSHaile

A beginner’s retreat is scheduled for October 2-4 at the monastery.  Perhaps you’d like to join us?  Click here for more information.

A Retreat: Part one

For a few years, I’ve had this dream to lead a retreat for photographers.   The retreat would focus on getting away from the noise of our everyday lives in order to nourish our capacity to see, to be fully present to the world around us, using the tools of photography.   “Seeing with New Eyes:  Women’s Photography Retreats”, my dream, became reality a couple of weeks ago.  Four other women photographers joined me at the guest house of New Skete Monastery for two days of retreat

This first retreat was designed for intermediate to advanced photographers.  Each of the 4 women who joined me have photographed professionally.  So this was not about exposure modes, or f-stops, or shutter speed.  These women are very comfortable with a camera and how to use it. (A beginner’s retreat is planned for October.)

But images are made in the mind and soul of the maker before anything is ever done with the camera. We have to stop to really see what is in front of us.  Then we can create the images.

Much of our time was spent practicing the art of slowing down and noticing.  I, just as much or perhaps more so than others, can also fall into the habit of not “seeing” when I am too busy with musts and shoulds.  So I appreciated the time to just stop and appreciate the beauty at my feet.  The images here (and some more next week) are a few that I particularly liked from the many I created while at New Skete.

I took the opportunity to play with a new combination of lens and filter that produces this incredible bokeh that is in the first two images of the Queen Anne’s Lace.

Queen Anne's Lace prior to  full blossom.

Queen Anne’s Lace prior to full blossom.

A meadow full of Queen Anne's Lace sparkles in the sunlight.

A meadow full of Queen Anne’s Lace sparkles in the sunlight.

Using camera movement to create interesting images is always fun for me, and I played with that to create the image of the birch trees.

Birch trees lit by the evening sun create a cool abstract by moving the camera while the shutter is open.

Birch trees lit by the evening sun create a cool abstract by moving the camera while the shutter is open.

The eerie looking house benefited from some fun Photoshop play to bring out it’s ghostly qualities.

I wondered if this house was haunted and then learned that is was used as a chicken house for many years.  Ghosts of chickens?

I wondered if this house was haunted and then learned that is was used as a chicken house for many years. Ghosts of chickens?

Notice how the word “play” showed up in each of those image descriptions?  Taking or making the time for play is one of the goals of these retreats.

Play is an important component in creativity.  

Next week, I’ll share a few more images that I created during the Seeing with New Eyes advanced retreat.  If you’d like to see some of the images created by the photographers who came to the retreat, see the albums on the Haile Fine Photography Facebook page.