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.