October 15, 2013

Recapping, Irony, Big Heart …

Random thoughts from this year’s I Heart Faces Photography Conferenceihf 2013 photography conference instaversion
It always feels uber-weird to travel away and apart from my family.  I wondered/worried whether it would be worth it.  It was.  The conference was pretty …. wonderful.

I fretted all the way from home to the airport that I was forgetting something of importance.  Something I would need to teach my workshop & classes.  Something that would be indispensable to my time away from home.  I was at the airport for all of five minutes before I figured out what it was:  my reading book.  The one I had been saving specially just for this trip and my long hours on planes.  Confession: I may have started twitching.  A full day of travel in front of me without a book?!?!?  Torture.  Pure torture.  Orange County’s airport bookstore had nothing I was willing to pay for, nevermind read.  At Vegas, I meandered thru 5 bookstores and found exactly nothing.  In the 6th store I hit paydirt and picked up a ridiculously expensive paperback, The Sandcastle Girls.  So my enchanting coming-of-age story was replaced with a historical [fictional] account of the Armenian Genocide.  Oh well.  Best laid plans, yadayada … 

Of course, the good news is that I forgot nothing necessary to my workshop.  My workshop that began at 8a (Ohio time … THUS 5am California time) the morning after the late night I arrived :-).  The further good news:  I had access to coffee before my workshop began.  The bad news:  the “coffee” was little more than slightly-coffee-flavored warm water.  The good news:  I had the most friendly, fabulous group of women in my class and two of the most amazing “helpers” (helpers said in quotes, because either of these women is capable of teaching brilliantly):  Julie and Jessica.  The extra good news:  Adrienne and her sweet kids allowed us the privilege of photographing their dear family.  So, staying awake totally wasn’t a problem.
The humongous irony:  the pictures of Adrienne’s family are the only pictures (minus two selfies with Julie before I left Sunday morning) I took with my big girl camera.  And then I have a mere handful of images with my phone camera.  Honestly, time blew by so fast and I was always talking with someone, and I just. didn’t. take. any. pictures.  At a photography conference.  Irony, indeed.

I got a new camera bag/backpack before heading to Ohio:  Epiphanie’s Madison bag.  And, ohmygoodness, that bag was a total workhorse.  It held my 15” laptop & power source, my camera body, 3 lenses, card-reader/batteries/cf-cards, my workshop book & notes, phone, reading book, wallet, and granola bars.  If you’re looking for a new bag, I can whole-heartedly recommend the Madison!!

I’ve known Becky online for years.  She’s like the internet fairy godmother, dropping notes of encouragement and love everywhere.  I was beyond thrilled to be picked up at the airport by Becky and to discover that she’s every bit as wonderful in real life as she is in the internets.  We laughed as we got lost (honestly, iPhone GPS directions are kinda the pits sometimes; after three veer this way or that way at consecutive “forks in the road”, we ended up going in the wrong direction on the highway in the dark).  But at least we were together – grin – and eventually ended up where we needed to be.

I got to go out to dinner with Keli and Erika.  There may have been sarcasm.  And talk of circles.  And mutual commiseration.  And lots of laughter.  And honestly, the feeling of it all being a surreal small world just kept rolling over me.

I had the most perfect roommate – Julie.  We’re both hard-core introverts.  We used up absolutely all of our store of extrovertedness (and then some) when we were out and about during the conference.  And then we would run back to our “cave”.  Where we would talktalktalk til it was time for Julie to sleep.  And it was pretty much perfect.

Meeting the entire I Heart Faces Creative Team and seeing Amy & Angie again was simply awesome!   These women are all super supportive, funny, down-to-earth, big-hearted, talented, and fun to hang out with!  The luxury of early Friday breakfast with Jenn and lunch with Heather and Sunday breakfast with Jess – three women I’ve sooooo looked forward to meeting.  The hang out time was delightful.  Too bad the coffee sucked.  Next time I may need to smuggle my Keurig machine along with me.

Ok, using so many words is making me twitchy.  Gotta bring this to a close, even though I know there are a million details I’m leaving out.  The very biggest thing that steam-rolled over me during this conference was the huge-ness of the HEART of this I Heart Faces community.  Angie & Amy have fostered a truly unique, full-of-heart, amazingly-friendly community of people with a shared passion of photography.   I’m excited for future IHF conferences.  And that’s a pretty big statement for a hard-core introvert to make (grin). 


Life with Kaishon said...

You might possibly be the best linker on the planet. I swoon at your linking skills. I am trying to get my post ready and, well, the pictures are pretty terrible. Oh my. I took terrible pictures inside the hotel. I am going to post any way though : ).

I loved meeting you. Thank you for being so wonderful despite our navigational challenges. I am thankful you are my friend.

Adrienne Zwart said...

Loved reading your thoughts on this, Susan! I totally get the near-fit upon realizing you'd forgot your reading book. That's a long time to maybe have to talk to a seatmate. (Insight from a fellow hardcore-introvert.) ;)

The conference really all kinds of wonderful, and I am beyond thankful that you were able to come and teach and share your gift!

Heather said...

I so want to squish Cali close to NY. Thank you so much for being the lady you are, your workshop blew my mind (not surprised) and the way you do life and work is a total inspiration. Can;t wait to squeeze you again!

Erika said...

Seriously it was fantastic to meet you. With the new job, I figured my chances of meeting Online friends was slim. You restored my hope!! :)

angie {the arthur clan} said...

Irony...I totally get that. I did the exact. same. thing. Absolutely ZERO photos with my big girl camera. :(

So glad I had a great team behind me that captured the event for me. So fun to see the story everyone captured while they were there!

Meg C said...

I was so glad to meet you at the conference for a split second. I really enjoyed your class have since explored your blog. I love your work: thanks for inspiring me!

And I would totally freak out if I left home without a book. So glad you found something worthwhile in an airport bookstore!