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  • Betty Girardeau

Golden Opportunities


This is one of my favorite fall images. I took it in the fall of 2012 when I attended my very first photo workshop. I didn't have to travel far for this one as it was held in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, just a little over an hour from my front door. I have since attended two other workshops there, both in the fall, and have returned other times on my own or with friends. For a photographer I think fall is perhaps the best time to visit the park. You just can't beat the many opportunities to capture wide or narrow vistas of color in many shades of orange, reds, golds, and yellows mixed with several shades of green. There are lots of streams and waterfalls, too, that you can use as the centerpiece of a shot framed by colorful leaves, as I did here. The opportunities to capture a good, even great shot, are endless. It's little wonder that after that first workshop I returned home excited and energized and couldn't wait for more opportunities to get out with my camera and see what else I could accomplish with it. Every year since then, except for this year, I have been able to attend at least one photo workshop a year, some in exotic places like Costa Rica and Hawaii. I have really missed having the opportunity this year, though I was supposed to go to Montana in August for one, which has now been rescheduled for August 2021. Thankfully, like many other creative groups, there have been all kinds of on-line workshops and webinars available this year, and I have attended quite a few of them. But nothing can really take the place of being out and about with a camera and other attendees trying to capture a view, an emotion, a slice of life, or a memory under the guidance of an inspiring instructor. The wonderful thing about workshops is that you learn almost as much from the instructor as you do from other attendees. We all have a slightly different way of looking at the world and being able to see how others have viewed the very same things you have is really inspiring. I have often found myself thinking "I would never have thought to take a shot like that." Over the years I have attended lots of workshops in other creative fields, but there is something about photo workshops that add an extra dimension of stretching in creative and mental ways that I have not encountered anywhere else. There are many things about this pandemic year that I have missed, but I have especially missed these golden opportunities to become better at what I love to do.

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