“Tell me if you want to stop anywhere to take pictures,” Davina said, as we drove pass really beautiful streams and small lakes with reflections like mirrors. The sun was setting and the light was magical. Well, we never found a good place to stop along the way for pictures. I think we were both so excited to just get there. We kept driving the 3.5ish hours from Seattle to our destination on the coast. With about 20 minutes left of driving, the weather changed, got foggier and mistier, and the trees changed too. Less inland forest and more crooked, coastal forest. We were near the ocean! We kept driving until we got to our destination, the Kalaloch Lodge, pulled into the parking lot and saw this view:
What an amazing view to greet us for what would turn out to be a very special weekend retreat with fellow creatives. A few months ago, out of the blue I was added to this Facebook group called “Kalaloch Photography Retreat” without explanation. The conversation was moving so fast it was difficult for me to figure out who or what this thing was all about. I recognized some of the names of women from a few blog circles I had participated in over the last 2 years, but several of the names were unfamiliar to me. It turns out that a small group of women were planning to get together over a long weekend in January to geek out over anything photography-related (and turns out even some non-photography creative outlets like calligraphy and knitting!). It was going to be held in Kalaloch on the Washington coast near Kate Densmore’s house, who happens to live across the street from the beautiful Kalaloch Lodge.
Truth be told, I’m kind of an introvert, so the idea of spending a long weekend with a bunch of women who I’d only been in contact with casually online was slightly scary. Thank goodness my good friend Davina, a fellow Washington local and extrovert I’ve gotten to know IRL, was planning to go, and provided me the much-needed pestering required to actually make this trip happen on my end.
On Saturday morning, we did some fine art boudoir photography practice with couples & boudoir photographer Alice Che. It’s amazing what directional light can do for the female form. And every photographer knows that occasionally getting in front of the lens can only make you a better photographer, since it’s so important to remember how uncomfortable it can be for people we’re photographing! Thank you so much to the ladies that volunteered to model for us! Their husbands are going to be the lucky recipients of memorable Valentines this year!
Later that day Felicia Chang and Kate Densmore gave us a lesson on freelensing. Man, it’s harder than you think!!! I still need to practice this technique a lot, but it’s pretty darn fun. Here are a few freelensed still life images.
That afternoon we went for a forest walk and then ended up down at the beach. The BEACH! It’s just magical!!!
The following day we headed to Forks to look for Edward and Bella, and also check out the beaches up there. The next set of images is from Jacob’s territory in La Push. 😉 Now, I don’t consider myself a landscape photographer. My passion most certainly lies in being a people photographer, but come on! How can you not be inspired by these surroundings?!
The images directly above and below this text were shot with a Lensbaby Composer with double glass optic. This lens/system was gifted to me that weekend by my friend Cat McAteer, a fellow Nikonian and uber talent birth photographer based out of Calgary, who decided it’s just not for her. What a generous gift!!! I’m definitely still getting to know this lens, but when a shot turns out, boy is it magical! I really love what it does to the sky and ocean. THANK YOU, Cat!!!
Most of our meals happened around Kate’s dining room table. We all pitched in for groceries, several ladies volunteered to prepare the various meals, and of course there was wine. LOTS of wine. I’m so thankful for the conversations we shared over meals about lighthearted topics but also shared passions, common fears, and familiar struggles. We have to send a big shout out to Kate’s husband Brian, who made us all feel welcomed, and is quite the comedian himself. And hanging out with Kate’s two little girls made me feel like I wasn’t that far away from my own kiddos.
The morning of our last day there, we were greeted with clear skies and amazing colors in the sunrise. We headed down to the beach before breakfast to capture the fleeting beauty of a new day. Here’s our sweet roommate Laura, who was incredibly brave to travel out here from the east coast, drive up from Portland with Dana, who she’d never met in person, and spend the weekend with us. Laura is mentoring with Kate this year, and I’m so looking forward to seeing how her (already awesome) photography grows.
Later that morning a few of us went for another forest walk to take advantage of the sun streaming through the trees. You generally need a lot of light to work with for macro photography, so I thought I’d work on that. I still suck at macro, but these are a handful of shots that I like. The Olympic National Forest provided an abundance of opportunities for macro practice!
Inspired, renewed, energized, blessed. You know those experiences that become even more profound and meaningful after they’re over? That’s totally what this retreat was like for me. I am so thankful for the new friendships we now share, and I’m so looking forward to seeing what you all do in 2015!
Please head on over to couples & boudoir extraordinaire, Alice Che Photography, to see Alice’s colorful, whimsical take on our Kalaloch weekend. I also have Alice to thank for introducing me to my newest hobby – calligraphy!!!