I got back to St Paul last night after eight days of magic. First: Thanks to Bill for his outstanding and relentless enthusiasm, as well as the generous support for the community of photography and the arts. It's about time some good news hits photography, with all that we read about professional photographers having a hard time. This is a really good thing that is happening! It was an honor and a pleasure to be at the inauguration of the new workshop facility, and to spend that time among friends, old ones and new ones. What a magical time! So much fun.
Heidi and I drove around in the Michigan Upper Peninsula for five days prior to the event, and camped at JW Wells State Park, Indian Lake State Park, and two nights in Grand Marais. We saw the mouth of the Two Hearted River, the Grand Sable Dunes, the Au Sable Light Stateion, and the shores of both Lake Michigan and Lake Superior. It's with mixed feelings we travel through there, because of the destitute economical conditions as well as the utterly beautiful and pristine nature. I don't think it's possible to make up a place so beautiful.
Both of us have appreciated the kindness, humor, and generosity of all the other visitors, and the extremely patient folks at the beautiful Birchwood Inn, where most of this rogue posse of photographers stay during the event. All I can say is that you should have seen the mountain of recycled glass after the event...
It's been so nice to rekindle some old friendships, to finally meet some old online friends in person, and also to meet a few new people. What a great bunch of people! It's a real privilege to spend time with all of you.
The program was really great this year. Really interesting presentations from four remarkably talented women, and Jamie Young gave (from what I hear, I sadly missed it) a great presentation surrounding Cirkut cameras. With no offense meant to Jamie at all, it was great to see so many female presenters, because even though there are female gear-heads too, most women that I know that are photographers are remarkably good at simply doing what they love without obsessing about what camera, film, developer, etc, to use. That provided for presentations largely geared toward the passion of making photographs, which I thought was incredibly inspiring and fun.
It's great to hang out with all of these people, and on top of that you are in one of the most beautiful places that are, with your camera equipment, and you can go photograph it whenever you want to. With changing conditions we had clear blue skies, fog, an incredible full moon rise, and overcast conditions that are perfect for shooting in the pristine woods in the area. It doesn't get much better than that from a perspective of being a lover of nature and photography at the same time.
Finally I'd like to shout out to the Schwab family. Thank you for putting your time and energy into this event, and being such wonderful hosts.
Now let's see what my 27 rolls of film might have on them... It might take me more than a year to get around to printing them.