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Colorado Springs Workshop

July 6, 2019

I spent early July 2019 in beautiful Colorado Springs, Colorado.

It was a very special destination for me. When I was 15, I won a scholarship to spend two weeks at an art camp there. It was a truly magical experience for me. I treasure my memories of the Marie Walsh Sharpe camp at Colorado College. I am still friends with a couple of the students and a youth counselor I met during my stay there.

Colorado Springs did not disappoint. It was everything I remembered and more. The Garden of the Gods, the wide open spaces, the dramatic clouds. I am so grateful to Shannon Squires Photography for being my gracious host and setting up such a wonderful experience for me and the workshop attendees.

I held off teaching others for many years, concerned that my method didn’t have enough structure to translate well to a group of students. And, as a self-taught photographer, I was always a bit apprehensive about teaching others because I have my own, sometimes unorthodox, ways of working.

As I’ve begun to teach, I have realized that there is room for all kinds of teaching styles.

My style is exactly like my own workflow. I have a bit of a hippy philosophy when it comes to my personal work. I want to capture as many different things as quickly as possible. If its not perfect, I will think on it later. I believe in time, the shots (or in my head, stories) I didn’t know how to tell then, will come together and present themselves in their own time. It’s why I sometimes edit for years after a shoot. It might be odd for a traditional photographer who needs to present a gallery, but it’s not that different from how other artists work when developing their own projects.

We had a variety of different models and locations that wonderful afternoon. Indoors, outdoors. Mountains and a field. Kids, teens, and a mom… At one point, it even started to rain, then the sky opened up and we were gifted with an incredible sunset. It was about as diverse a shooting day as I can ever recall. And I loved it.

Let me show you what we did!

Here are some of my favorite moments and images from Colorado. I’ll start at the beginning, where we met up at the gorgeous Briarhurst Manor in Manitou Springs, CO.

As you know if you follow my work at all, I am strictly a natural light shooter. I am in the process of dabbling with OCF, but I’m basically clueless about it. The Manor is absolutely beautiful, but with overcast skies and an vintage, dark interior, it wasn’t my typical situation. I was out of my comfort zone. This was particularly stressful in a teaching situation. But if I can teach you anything, it’s that you adapt and do your best in any situation you find yourself in. You move past the fear and instead, start thinking about the possibilities.

My goal is never perfection. Its a story. Limitations and challenges frame stories. They add depth. They force creativity. They demand growth.

These shots were taken at a relatively high ISO for my Canon, which in my opinion, doesn’t handle ISO’s higher than 1000 terribly well. But as I worked on these, I liked the grain, I enjoyed the softness the situation produced. I felt it added to the warmth and the vintage feel of the interior.

Dominique and her daughter at the piano

I want to make sure to mention that the gorgeous dress seen above was hand-made by Alora Safari. It’s also available to rent from Your Fairy Godmother Couture.

It’s an incredible, modern day fairy tale dress.

In one of the rooms, there was an amazing shelf full of vintage books. I loved the repetition of the books as a background and was so intrigued by my model’s serene expression Something about this series reminded me of the supernatural movies of my youth. I added flying book pages and created an overlay. I’m still not quite sure which version I prefer, with eyes open or shut.

Flying Books: Basic Tutorial & Overlay Set

You can watch the video here:

The exterior grounds of the Manor were pretty amazing too.

It started raining for a bit. Dominique pulled out her umbrella and I was struck by how her umbrella’s pattern complimented her beautiful freckles.


Dominique glowing in the rain.
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Colorado Springs Workshop

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