Grandfather Mountain is a very special place for me. I met and married my husband up there, and I have learned so much about photography at the events there. Every year since 1995, I have attended the Nature Photography Weekend and the Camera Clinic. I have met people who have remained friends for years. I met my business partner, Melissa, there, and we have been fast friends ever since. What does this have to do with this week's picture? Well, for me, everything!
As TEAM members for the Nature Photography Weekend and the Grandfather Mountain Camera Clinic, we (my husband Roger, Melissa, and I, along with the other TEAM members) get to go up on the mountain a day or two early. We have run of the mountain, meaning we can head up the mountain for sunrise, stay for sunset, and shoot the stars at night. We also get to camp there, which is a real treat. During the events, the participants who want to camp also get those "perks". We try to take full advantage of those moments.
This past Camera Clinic, Melissa, Nico, Roger, my daughter-in-law Jessica, and I went to the Half Moon Overlook to shoot some star shots and the Milky Way. It was Jessica's first try at night photography, so Melissa was giving her some tips. While we all shot and got some decent photographs, I think the thing that was most fulfilling was just hanging out on the mountain, in the dark, watching the celestial show. Shooting stars, constellations (and airplanes) were lighting up the sky. We did it again the next night at a different location. There is something to be said for being out in nature with your friends. There is an easy camaraderie; everyone is working together toward the goal of getting a good shot. We're helping each other and having fun. To me, this is what I love about photography. The people I've met, and the experiences we've shared. Don't ever underestimate that aspect of the photographic experience. It's not always the photography. It's the experience as a whole.
So, get out there and experience ALL that photography has to offer. Friendships, sights and sounds of nature, and the peace and serenity that being out in nature affords us. Try to bring that experience back in photographs. But, if you are not successful with your pictures, at least you have had experiences of a lifetime and made friendships that will last a lifetime, too.