Photo Field Trip

I’ve written and erased this post about a hundred times and, for a bit, settled on letting the pictures speak for themselves in an effort to leave out any negativity. But, I always keep it real on here and I don’t want this experience to be excluded.
I had a great time, I did. I met some fantastically amazing people – some that I have met before, others that I felt like I knew because we’ve forged such a strong friendship already through instagram alone, and others that I met for the first time and loved.
Photo field trip was something that started as a small-ish gathering. I remember emailing the person in charge about my picky eating (I eat like a 5 year old, in case you didn’t already know) and she personally assured me that if I couldn’t find something I’d like that they would order me pizza. Not that I thought that would actually happen, but I liked the idea of it being small and personal. The event blew up, however, and not long after that email they opened up several other spots and what was once a not-so-big-event suddenly became a 300+ person event.
If you didn’t know anyone, ie. if you are not active in the instagram community, I imagine it carried the potential to be a lonely event. There was that same anxiety present as when you walk into the lunchroom at a new school and wonder where you are going to sit and who is going to talk to you.
I took several different classes; some were great and others were just okay. In the end, I walked away more stoked on the social aspect than the educational aspect.
I feel like this all has to be said because it has yet to be said. It’s not said to discount anyone else’s experience, as I too came home motivated and on “on a high”. I know others who did not, however, and that makes me sad.
In any event, I hope to return next year if for no other reason than to meet up with a handful of other photographers that I now call real-life friends. I also hope to return and put my nerves to the side and branch out and meet more people and perhaps make some of those that are less familiar with the community feel a little more welcome.

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13 Responses

  • such beautiful images capturing the time in el capitan! those are some of my favorite images anyone has ever taken of nate & i. thank you so much for sharing your talent & time to take some snaps of us! so excited that we got to finally meet & can’t wait until our paths cross again!!

  • These photos are beautiful, Ashley. I love how moody they feel.

    It’s so strange to attend an event where everyone else goes home gushing via social media, but you don’t feel quite the same way. I went on a yoga retreat a couple years ago where everyone else came home gushing like they’d made new BFFs at summer camp. I’d had a great time, but then felt left out reading what everyone else said about the experience. It changed my perception of the weekend I’d just had, which is super weird if you think about it.

    • It is strange. And it’s not discount the good time I had… I walked away with some legitimately strong friendships. Really and truly. But it’s not like everyone that walked into the big tent sat down and got some amazingly warm welcome… there was still that aura of true summercamp where you’re unsure, insecure, and anxious. And that wasn’t talked about much. Maybe I’m the only one who felt that way? Who knows. There were people I chickened out on introducing myself to, which in hindsight was dumb. All in all, as I said, I’d return for the social aspect alone… and to see my newly made friends again, of course.

  • I didn’t know you went! I would have loved to meet you. These photos are beautiful. I’m so happy you wrote this post too. I totally felt that way. It was a great experience, but also a lonely one for me. My fault of course. I felt like everyone already had friends and I was just there. I should have pushed myself more. It was still worth it though.

  • Um. Me too. I definitely did not meet enough people, loved it for what it was for me, but would love even more to have met more. My fault. Thank you for this and the GORGEOUS photos!

  • Wonderfully lovely photographs, you did such a great job of playing with all that moody light we were dealt for the weekend! I really agree with your perspective as well as what Emily had to say and your follow up to that. I went in literally having met one person in person, one time before hand. Of course there were the real connections I made from those I knew via social media only, but in the end, I felt that I knew less then 10 people in a room of 300+. For me it felt like being the new kid in school, in a room where so many ppl knew one another, and I personally just shut down. I guess thats on me, but I was overwhelmed and didnt know how to break into these seemingly private group conversations. I was never the walk up and introduce myself and now your my friend like it or not type person. I did really enjoy my experience, I just would have enjoyed it so much more without all the social anxiety that came with what became such a large event.

  • You couldn’t have summed this up better. I agree with everything you wrote in your blog post 110% – I also loved this quote “…there was still that aura of true summercamp where you’re unsure, insecure, and anxious. And that wasn’t talked about much. Maybe I’m the only one who felt that way? Who knows. There were people I chickened out on introducing myself to, which in hindsight was dumb.” As a total outsider, and not even a photographer (I do video only) my expectations to meet people were crushed with the sheer volume of people. It was a daunting task. Too many people and stories I wanted to learn and where to start? Oddly the people I met were those from my neck of the woods who I had yet to meet. It was wonderful to connect with them, and I’m grateful for those conversations, but there were so many more stories and experiences from all over the worlds I would have loved to hear. Thank you for being so honest.


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