Somehow almost two months have passed since I attended Leap Retreat in Colorado. So far I’ve shared my initial thoughts and feelings about the whole experience in Part One, and what I got up to for 12 hours in Denver in Part Two. I figured it was probably about time I shared one of the photoshoots I captured!
We (myself plus Ashley, Anne and lovely Libby, who gave us all a ride up into the mountains from Denver) arrived in Allenspark at the cabin, our cosy and quirky home for the weekend, at about 5pm on the Friday evening. Most of the other attendees had also only just arrived so there was plenty of hustle and bustle as everyone unloaded their luggage from the various cars scattered in the drive. We all pitched in and helped Sarah, our teacher, and Lulu, our fabulous ‘den-mother’ who would be doing all the catering, ferry boxes and boxes of food and drinks from car to kitchen. Once inside we claimed our beds, grabbed our cameras and immediately headed straight back out again into the beautiful scenery (imagine a backdrop of mountains and aspen trees turning gold in the setting sun) as our first photoshoot subjects had arrived.
Beautiful Hillary (a photographer herself – go and check out her inspiring work at Hillary Kaye Photography) and her gorgeous six year old daughter Harper were the perfect models for our very first photoshoot – a sunset ‘Mama and Me’ session. Sarah ran through the basics with us and then let us have a free rein, only interjecting occasionally with suggestions for how to guide Hillary and Harper to connect more and create those natural magical moments that we all wanted to capture.
I found it quite challenging, which is, of course, exactly what I wanted, even if it felt uncomfortable at first. There’s no point going halfway across the world just to stay in my comfort zone. I’m not used to shooting in fading light so figuring out my settings was the first hurdle to overcome. Then there was the undeniable fact that there were twelve of us all trying to get shots at the same time – trying to be considerate of everyone else and not get in their way whilst making sure I captured the moments I wanted to took some delicate maneuvering, a few apologies and lots of giggles as we dodged each other and twisted ourselves into interesting positions. Little Harper was incredible – having all those cameras pointing at her at once didn’t faze her in the slightest. She gave us her best smiles, gave her Mama a million kisses and pretty much melted all of our hearts with her cuteness.
They picked wish flowers, snuggled on blankets and twirled in the trees – for me, it was magical. I felt like I was doing something I was meant to be doing. It just felt right.
I deliberately didn’t look at any of the images I took until I got home to the UK. I know from experience that I always hate my work for the first few days and that I need to give myself some space before I critique my photos. When I did finally go through them all there were, of course, plenty of duds where I missed the focus or the exposure wasn’t right. But there were plenty that I loved and several that I REALLY loved and I’ve included as many of them here as I can.
I’m proud of this shoot. I’m proud of the images I captured. I’m proud of myself for letting go of everything that scared me and leaping into the unknown.
So here they are, Hillary and Harper and their moments that mattered: