A Kindred Spirit

"...my passion for photography and the coast was being rejuvenated"
Hi Chris,

I hope the workshops are continuing to grow and I’m sure you have no shortage of clients. I wanted to get back in touch to say a bit about my time I spent with you back in February.
As I told you when I booked, I had never attended a photography workshop before. I did look into the possibility of going on one, but all the adverts I saw, whilst offering amazing looking itineraries in great places, seemed a bit corporate and impersonal. Having a history of depression and anxiety, I wasn’t sure this sort of thing was for me and so I had shelved the idea. That was until the morning I opened up my copy of Outdoor Photography and my eye was drawn to your advert. It was different in that it offered a One to One focus. As I read through the ad and looked at the images, I began to think this just might be for me! I showed April the ad and she too thought it sounded great. So an email was sent and a prompt and friendly reply was received! I duly booked a 3 day workshop. I was sent a comprehensive information pack that had loads of helpful information. With every communication I felt more at ease and sure I’d made the right choice. A few days before my workshop I received an email with some final check list info and then I was off to Cornwall!
When I arrived, I have to say I was apprehensive about the prospect of 3 days of photography tuition. Would I be good enough? Would I make a fool of myself? Yet when you opened the door, you immediately put me at ease with your friendly manner and warm welcome! Once settled in to my lovely accommodation, it was in to the studio with a coffee for a chat and a run through of my itinerary. It quickly became obvious that you had put a lot of effort in to coming up with a programme that would best suit me. You told me I would be working hard as the days were long and action packed! Your passion for photographing the Cornish coast was immediately obvious and I started to relax and get excited about the coming days.
We then headed down to Crantock beach so you could see how I handled my gear. I was nervous, but you put me at ease. As I set up and started taking pictures, you gave me guidance and encouragement. From this moment on, my passion for photography and the coast was being rejuvenated. I need to mention as well that your suggestion to try a pair of chest waders (so I didn’t need to worry about getting my feet wet) was great and they really helped change my approach to composing my shots.You talked through shutter speeds and depth of field but the most important thing you said was about looking at what was in front of me and really seeing what was going on! I quickly became absorbed in the beauty of the sea and in trying to capture some of the emotion I felt in my images.
Then we went back to the studio to review my pics and for my first editing session. You gave me a good, clear workflow to follow, but the most important important lesson was how to use Photoshop to enhance what I felt at the time of taking the image. It wasn’t about whacking everything up to the max, but rather about refining my image to replicate what my eyes saw when I pressed the shutter.
Then it was off to shoot the sunset. The amazing scene in front of me was constantly changing and again I felt myself becoming totally absorbed in the process of creating images. It was wonderful! I was feeling a creativity flowing in me that I didn't realise existed! All the time you were encouraging me and giving the heads-up when a likely looking wave was approaching.
Then it was back home for something to eat. Chris, your culinary skills are as great as your photographic ones! It was like dining in a posh restaurant. Every meal was amazing!
After supper it was back to the studio to review my images. Hmmm did I really take over 600??!! You showed me how to rate them and then we worked on a couple before my brain gave up and it was time for bed!
5am the next morning and it was up and out for a trip to the south coast for sunrise. During the drive we chatted about all sorts of things and I felt so at ease. We arrived at the location and set up. I had the waders on and gradually moved further in to the surf. I became so immersed in what I was doing that you had to 'rescue' me more than once! This shoot was one of the most amazing experiences I’d had in a long time. When we’d finished, you then proceeded to cook the most amazing bacon butties on a stove in the back of the Land Rover!
These are memories that make me smile now as I’m typing!
Then it was off to several other locations. Each time you gave me guidance, but room to discover my own compositions rather saying “point your lens there... do this.. shoot that”. This workshop wasn’t just about f stops and ND grads, it was about learning how to create an image that could transport me back to the moment it was taken. The studio sessions of post processing revolved around the same premise and it was great.
The 3 days were all about me! You took me to amazing locations, kept me safe when I became overly absorbed in the process, encouraged me and made suggestions on how to improve. The overriding feeling by the end of my workshop was that of two kindred spirits getting to know one another. I left Crantock not just a better photographer, but a more fulfilled person.
But all of that was four months ago.
A lot of water has passed under the bridge (or waves on the shore!) since then. Where am I now? Well I didn’t spend every waking hour out taking pictures. However, the changes that occurred back in February were lasting and everywhere I went, I was seeing things I’d not noticed before. Crafting potential images in my mind’s eye.
In May we had our family holiday in North Wales and we stayed near the coast. It was as if you were with me Chris! I’d be taking pictures and I could hear you saying “keep your filters clean!” Or “don’t forget to look behind you”! I captured some images I was pleased with, but more than that I came away with powerful memories of being out in the midst of amazing beauty.
Another thing that happened while I was away is that I finally decided to join YouPic! Chris, thank you so much for the suggestion. I feel comfortable on the site. I have gradually put up quite a few pictures, and I have had a warm welcome. I have people following me and I am following others without it feeling pressured.
The other piece of news is that I’m typing this missive on a shiny new iMac!!! I’m blaming you as I was blown away by using yours! I have the 27 inch 5k screen and it is mind glowingly amazing!
So I think that is about it.
Oooo no it’s not! I almost forgot, April and I have booked a cottage in Crantock for a week at the end of November as I’m going to be 60!! If you and Sam are around it would be brilliant if we could pop round and see you both.
Now I think that’s all!

Take care you two,

With best wishes