Late last year, I was scrolling Instagram and saw that there was going to be a second We Wanderers Retreat. It is a photography retreat where you can have a hands-on learning experience in an intimate setting with Courtney Slazinik( Click it up a Notch) and Trisha Hughes( Eat Your Beets). I was deep in the middle of a photography rut, but what intrigued me, was that it was a retreat for women who loved photography and wanted to learn more about how to tell their stories through photography.
I rarely do anything JUST for me anymore. But since one of my words of the year is to CREATE, I thought that this retreat might help point me in the right direction to start creating for me again.
And I was right.
Day 1 Thursday…
I arrived in wet, unusually cold Austin, Texas Thursday afternoon. I drove through beautiful country to get to Dripping Springs, Texas, which is 45 minutes outside of Austin. Pulling up to the house, it felt so cozy already!
We had wine, got to know each other and enjoyed a delicious welcome dinner catered by La Pera.
And I had S'mores. Did you know I'd never had them before? LOL. It seems that I am one of those odd kids who never went camping and was never in Girl Scouts so in 42 years, it never happened. Until this retreat…
They were good, but um…sweet. LOL
Day 2 Friday…
Friday morning started with learning about shooting in manual mode. It's something I knew, but I can always use a refresher. AND a better way to explain it to the people in my Everyday Eyecandy Project Facebook group.
There was a little hands-on training and shooting around the house, learning about rules of composition and storytelling. And then, it was time for lunch…
Let me just say, that I really felt the “retreat” part of this trip in the food. It was GLORIOUS.
And since we all love photography and any chance to practice, even at lunch, we continued with lessons in finding the light when we photograph food and people. It became a running theme that when the food was being served, we all had our cameras out, ready to photograph the beautiful food prepared by La Pera.
I mean, isn't this gorgeous??? ( and it was SOOOO GOOOD).
After lunch, we talked more about gear and lenses.
Photographed a snack…
And then headed off to Treaty Oak Distillery for a tour and cocktail excursion.
I'm not usually a whiskey girl, but learning about how they made it and a taste test, made me a fan. The distillery was the perfect place to practice the lessons about light, storytelling, and composition that we had learned that morning.
And have a drink of course, and take more photos…
Day 3 Saturday…
We started the morning with a meditative sound bath with Carol Johnson from the Zero Gravity Institute. Now I was skeptical. REALLY SKEPTICAL. Until I was asleep and woke myself up snoring. It was relaxing. Really relaxing. And I'd do it again for sure!
We headed back in to talk about Lightroom. Now, I've been using Lightroom for years, but always feel like I do not use it to it's fullest capabilities. But I loved the tips we got that morning from Courtney and Trisha and just watching them edit.
And then it was time for my FAVORITE session from the retreat. Food Photography with Trisha.
I have followed Trisha for a long time. I discovered her on on Instagram one day through her food blog, Eat Your Beets. I've always admired her food photography, so the chance to get to see her work and get tips…was a HUGE draw for me. LOL. And it did not disappoint.
Food photography is a beast. It's something I've discovered over the years of photographing food as a blogger. But Trisha's attention to detail, I think, is what sets her apart. So I watched, and I took photos and I watched some more and asked questions. And I took this.
And learned and learned and learned.
So when you see that my food photography improves over the next few months, keep in mind it's all because of this food photography session.
Next up was lunch…
OMG. I feel like this retreat was half about photography and half about the food. La Perla did such a great job!
We each got to get critique on our work from Courtney and Trisha from photos we uploaded from before we arrived. It was my turn this afternoon. I always grit my teeth at any sort of critique, even though I know it's good for me. But Courtney and Trisha give great encouragement while telling you what you could have done differently. I came away feeling like I had learned something, that my photos were decent and empowered going forward.
Our last experience was Weaving 101 with Zanny Cox.
Again, I did NOT expect to get anything out of this other than great photos. I know how to crochet from my mom, but weaving was not something I had an interest in.
But our beautiful teacher Zanny was so patient with us ( with me, she was patient with me LOL). And before long, I found myself relaxing, enjoying it, and feeling soothed.
So much so that I forgot to take a lot of photos. SMH.
The day ended with a farewell dinner that I didn't get too many photos of and lots of conversation and togetherness.
I had to leave early the next morning to get back home, so I missed the group lightroom editing roundtable.
But here are my thoughts on the whole experience.
If you have the time, and you want a space to learn photography, be pampered, be around like-minded people and have no one think it's odd when you stand on chairs to get photos of your food: then the We Wanderers Retreat is for you.
Webster's Dictionary defines retreat as a period of group withdrawal for prayer, meditation, study, or instruction under a director.
I got all of that and more on the We Wanderers Retreat with Courtney and Trisha AND Marissa ( the woman who does everything behind the scenes).
It was just the thing I needed to spark my creativity and help me look at photography and the world through new eyes.
If you think the We Wanderer's Retreat is something you might like to do, head here to get on their list to find out when the next one is being held and to get a look at past retreats.
Have you ever attended a photography retreat?