I went Breckenridge for a Photography Workshop called Own It. 20 photographers got together to learn and grow as creatives AND people. Prior to the trip, the instructors added all of us to a Facebook group so we could get to know one another pre-trip.
Kylee and I hit it off from day 1 in the Facebook group and we quickly realized we’re cut from the same cloth. Being the anal business owners that we are, we planned to arrive in Breck a day early, arranged to take the same shuttle up the mountain, drank so many waters out of fear of altitude we practically cried- begging the shuttle driver to pull over so we could pee, and settled into the ski resort with ample time to spare before our Dog Sledding excursion the next morning. We got coffee, holistic altitude vitamins (btw, they work like a charm. What even is altitude sickness?), and went downtown to explore. Of course we brought our cameras and aforementioned coffees. 😉
I’m pretty sure we couldn’t have found wood that so perfectly matched the colors in my hair if we tried. Bravo, Kylee!
Dog Sledding was just about the coolest experience E V E R. I’m sure people who travel to ‘Breck’ annually don’t find it nearly as impressive, but there was just something about being in the mountains that makes you feel more in touch with your spirit. I know I’m getting a little freaky on ya but I’m serious! We used Good Times Adventures and they sent a shuttle to pick us up from the resort. It was almost refreshing to hear the driver announce that we should probably just turn off our phones because there wouldn’t be any service beyond a certain point. Perfect. That’s the kind of detachment I needed. (Although I just went to Airplane mode, because I wanted to have pics on my phone AND my big cam.)
The pups were absolute ham bones. In my experience, when I happen upon working dogs, they’re in the zone. You’re not supposed to touch them, and if you do try to break the rules and make contact, they just ignore you. This was anything further from the truth. Clearly, as you can see depicted below, these dogs had a routine and took advantage of every inch of freedom within that structure. This was pre-sled. My new buddies, Angelika and Jill were PUMPED to get going. (As if the rest of us were any less ecstatic… )
Before we started on the tour, our guide explained a little bit about the roles of each of the 8 dogs. The leaders are obviously up front. The dog on the right was training the one on the left. I caught a few pictures of him nipping the new guy to get him in check. It looked mean though, so I didn’t post it. hahah They were all so sweet and friendly, but there was absolutely an established pecking order. The 4 dogs in the back are the power houses doing all of the work and the other two are the seniors, about to retire. I so wish i could have remembered their names!!
You know you’re with like minds when you ask the group if someone could take a backlit portrait of you with a dog and no one rolls their eyes! I’m pretty sure I’d get blank stares from my sisters if I ever broadcast that innermost desire on a family vacation. Total photog diva moment, but everyone understood and we made a rotation so we all got a great shot! It’s such a luxury to have pictures of ourselves for a change!
Below: My camera and edit, image shot by the fabulous Kylee Paige of Grand Rapids, MI.
Take 2!The big guy in the background was SUPER shy. They were all so funny when they knew it was break time. 95% of the time they would find the deepest snow possible and plop down to cool off. Look how chill he is! (literally and figuratively)
Just happily hauling our big ol’ selves up and down the mountains!
There were 160 dogs on site. Each team of 8 runs two tracks per day, totaling about 15 miles. The veterans are up for adoption and I STILL think about going back to get one. Unfortunately the KC heat would be so unfair to those cuties!!
Action shot of Kimberly Bailey. 🙂 She said: ‘Hey Felicia, you lean over and take a pic of me, and I’ll lean over and get one of you.’
That’s teamwork right there.
Selfies with giant cameras are apparently difficult? hahah I loved this one of Angelika and me- out of focus or not!
My turn to ride!
Not excited to mush… not at all. **For the record, to get the dogs to go, you yell ‘hike!’
Kimberly shared this sick video of our ride with me, so I MUST post it:
After Dog Sledding we took the Gondola up to Ski Village for lunch. I don’t even know if that’s what it’s called, but it’s safe to say we’ve established I wasn’t here to ski/board…hahah. It was a pretty cool way to see Breckenridge from a different point of view!
The workshop covered a bunch of technical photography and business related stuff, but the one thing I was really jazzed about (ew, I think my mom says ‘jazzed’ except I love my mom so I guess it’s fine) was the styled shoot at the top of a mountain! The three instructors, Wyn, Abbey, and Ellie, organized a time that a real couple (not just us pretending to like each other) met us for a live styled shoot. Talk about brave! These people had 20+ cameras in their face and were STILL this adorable. Unreal. If it were me, I’d have been contemplating hurling myself over the edge. JUST kidding… kind of.
Aside from shooting the couple, it was awesome to shoot my friends too! It’s been really fun to see how each of us transforms the same scene into our own creation. 🙂
This [BELOW] is what the whole time was like! I have to admit, it was a little overwhelming with such a high stimulus level, but I did discover something that changed me. I like these adventures, and I need to do more of them! Growing as a photographer also means growing as a person and LIVING. So that’s the new plan. Saying YES to life and fun opportunities, and letting God guide that trust and optimism.
Workin’ hard though too! duh. 🙂
The yogis puttin’ us all to shame. I’ll tell ya what though, we kept track of our heart rate via Kylee’s fitbit. That altitude is no joke! Kind of hoping all of that hiking burned some cals! Know what I mean?! 😉
The 3 amigos that rallied this troop of awesome creatives together. 🙂
Abbey doin’ her thang shootin’ Katie. By the way, Katie is a mother. Is that not ridiculous?! Talk about a hot momma!
So the title of this whole thing was ‘Own It’. As in Own YOU. Who cares if everyone in your industry shoots with 27 off camera lights. Who cares if most people don’t admit that sometimes they make bad pictures and that failure is a part of life. And who the BLEEP cares about the ‘norm’. Normal is boring and no one is actually normal. I mean we all know that, but think about what it means to find peace in that. I honestly didn’t learn a million new ‘camera things’ this weekend. I didn’t give myself enough credit for what I’ve discovered and taught myself on my own and I’m not even disappointed in not learning technical things. I’m actually really relieved because I came out of it with an inner peace I never expected. I came out of it with the realization that fulfilling myself isn’t only about being a full time photographer, or buying a house or meeting literal physical goals. That’s half, of course, because it’s a goal conquered, but what’s equally as important is finding a zest for life and capturing that light in other people. [This is so flippin’ cheesey but I don’t even care.] I found new purpose in shooting and new direction for new goals and it was kind of fantastic!
Below are pictures of a ridiculously rigged sled connected to a push broom, tethered by people hanging out the back of an SUV. Is it cool or smart or impressive?
It’s just FUN.
(because I was too distracted to photograph half of this)