They say pictures are worth a million words, so here are some of my favorites, from an incredible week of CAPTURE NC! I had desires, goals, and expectations for what I wanted to learn. And can I just say that James did a fantastic job with his first CAPTURE workshop?! Yes, I’m sure he came away with ways to improve, and thought-provoking ideas for a better next-time, but I have to say that CAPTURE far exceeded my expectations.
The workshop started off on Wednesday evening, with a meet and greet at our home. We welcomed David Pinkevitch and Connor Williams, two young men who had registered to attend. What a blessing it was getting to know them! They are both very passionate about taking beautiful pictures, and as the week progressed, their unique perspectives and love for capturing God’s beautiful creation really inspired and challenged me! It’s amazing how two people can look through the same lens at the same view, but each will often see something completely different – whether the mist rising in the valley, the next layer of mountains beyond, or the teeny tiny intricate flowers growing at the base of a giant tree…
Thursday morning we set off bright and early at 5:15AM! Our destination was the nearby Andrew Jackson State Park, where we hoped to catch a beautiful morning sunrise! This was where I learned that the tripod can be a photographer’s best friend .
Following our morning shoot, we headed back home for a delicious brunch prepared by all my amazing siblings (especially David who put a huge labor of love into this scrumptious meal!). A small session followed, and soon after we loaded our CAPTURE team into the van and set off for the NC Mountains – where we would spend the remainder of our week!
Late afternoon we arrived in the Linville NC area, where we promptly found the house we were renting for the weekend, and settled our things in. After a quick sub dinner, we drove to Duggar Creek Falls. This was my first real experience with photographing fast-moving-white-water. I so appreciated the time and effort James gave, as he helped me get my camera to the correct settings, critiqued my photos after I took the shot, and then gave a detailed explanation of why I needed to take certain steps for better composition/contrast. This really paved the way for a better understanding of how to compose, and capture something beautiful! I found this helpful all throughout the week .
Friday Morning we again set off in the blackness of the morning, for a sunrise view. Although the initial location did not work out as planned, we found a beautiful overlook and had our cameras set up by first light.
Shortly after this, we stopped to hike the Linn Cove Viaduct Trail, which led us to a pretty overlook. This proved to be a very beautiful place for photographing the winding Blue Ridge Parkway! This was also the place where I learned how to take silhouette shots!
We enjoyed a delicious brunch at a place called The Tartan Restaurant – and just for the record, they have great omelettes .
Friday evening we visited Wiseman’s Overlook, by following a 4-mile dirt road (with INCREDIBLE ruts and potholes… ) to a most breathtaking view of the mountains! James talked about different types of perspectives, which really challenged me to look for creative angles/views before taking a picture. As we waited 3 hours for the sunset, we photographed the misty valleys, the clouds floating through deep gorges below us, the lovely rock walls leading down to the overlook platforms, and various views of the mountains from dangerous cliff-overlooks .
Saturday morning we set off once again, to capture the sunset! This time, we hiked close to a mile, before we reached an overlook of Linville Falls, and the beautiful valley below. A second overlook further up the trail gave a whole new angle of perspective as the sun reached the sky.
With just a few hours of CAPTURE left, James critiqued our pictures, showed us examples of pictures he had taken with tips and insight, asked for our feedback, and made closing comments.
I can’t find words to describe what CAPTURE meant to me. To spend a weekend out in the beautiful wild mountains, away from usual distractions, noisy cities, day-to-day duties…to have a camera in hand and be free to capture anything and everything beautiful! What a time of learning, growing, stretching, challenging self, and always turning back to something so much bigger and deeper than just the concept of good photography – the heart of God.
Of course there were late-night conversations in the van as we drove back to the cabin, and early morning snacks in the kitchen. We laughed and told stories, and talked about our accents (David is Russian, and Connor has a deep southern accent ) and the way we pronounce certain words. We talked about hunting, hiking and backpacking, videography and photography. We told facts about ourselves and our families. We ate snacks and tried to take naps…we read our Bibles. We shared pictures and took notes, and wished certain people wouldn’t get so close to the edge of the cliff while photographing . We waded barefoot through rivers, bush-whacked down-stream, my skirt hem got soaked, we got sweaty and dirty…and wore the same clothes again the next day .
What I appreciated most about CAPTURE was that James didn’t just teach us how to compose a picture, how to use the setting on our camera, how to edit, how to choose the right angles… he took us right into the Word of God, shared truths, challenged us to discover God’s standards and convictions for photography – and to then make them our own. He encouraged us to ask, “Why am I doing this, what message or feeling does this picture give, what am I trying to capture and why?” He shared spiritual analogies between photography and the Christian walk. He talked about the settings on the camera, and how they relate to spiritual things! It was truly, a Christ-centered workshop, something that drew me closer to my Father. My camera became a tool, to bring glory to God. And I loved every moment of it!
I’m so grateful to have been a part of the first ever CAPTURE workshop! A big thank you to James, who worked so diligently to make this first effort a huge success! I’m also grateful for my amazing mom who fixed meals for us during the week, and Jonathan Staddon who did video the entire weekend so James could have a (future) promotional video on his website! I’m grateful for a team of great guys – Godly men (my dad, James, Jonathan, David, Connor) who together helped make our week one incredible big adventure !
I want to wholeheartedly recommend CAPTURE to all you photographers out there – whether experienced or starting from scratch! James has a real heart and passion for Christ-centered photography, and I’m sure you will find this workshop to be worth your time and money! So now the only question is, will you go to CAPTURE Alaska, or CAPTURE Kansas ?
I posted more of my favorite CAPTURE NC pictures HERE, HERE, and HERE
James Staddon posted his pictures HERE and HERE.
My dad posted pictures HERE and HERE.