Saturday, September 21, 2013

Through My Lens

A few months ago when I signed up for a photography course on Hornby Island with Illuminate Photo Education ( I had one goal, to learn to use my digital camera off the 'automatic' setting.  Aside from the camera part of things Hornby Island is a place I love.  I have many fond memories of spending time there with my own family and our Nanny and Papa when we were all a bit younger.  Still, as with any new experience, I was a bit nervous.  I worried about my camera not being 'enough'.  I worried a bit about who I might be rooming with.  I worried a bit about not knowing 'enough' about photography.  I always worry a bit when I head out into the world on my own.

As I settled in that first day I was looking forward to meeting everyone.  It reminded me of my junior high years on the first day of school.  You knew everything was going to be okay but still you were a bit nervous.  I was anxious to get the first information session under my belt so I could relax about not being 'left in the dust' by those with more knowledge and experience.  Those first hurdles are important ones when you embark on a new experience and they often set the tone for the remainder of the experience.

On that very first evening I learned one new thing about myself.  I love pathways.  As you can see in the two photos above, things that lead to other things catch my eye.  I did not learn this on my own.  I learned this from someone else who was looking at my pictures. I hadn't, and wouldn't have noticed this pattern  myself.  I was a bit surprised to see that many, many of my photos from that first day had that very same perspective.  It was a great reminder to me that sharing a bit of yourself, in this case, through photos may teach you things about yourself that you didn't know before. 

The instructors in this course, Karen McKinnon ( and Boomer Jerritt ( spent time on the personal aspect of photography as well as the technical aspect.  We, as a group, all wondered if my penchant for pathways reflected where I was in life.  Having retired a year ago, I must say that I have spent considerable time contemplating where life will take me.  This personal aspect of photography really appeals to me.

As we all headed out to the beach that first day it was so interesting to see how each of us found our niche.  Some people shot high, some low, some faced towards the open ocean, some back towards the beach.  Some contemplated a shot for many moments while others clicked away.  Some waded right out into the water, some shied away from the slippery, seaweed covered rocks.  Each of us found our own path in our own way in our own time and each of us made beautiful pictures that were all our own.  And this was only Day 1!  As we viewed each others' shots later that evening the group really began to come together.  As diverse as we were we shared a common passion.  In a few short hours we were comfortable enough to trust each other and that first night tears were shed and laughter filled the room.  The journey had begun.
For me, this is what new experiences are all about.  They take me out of my comfort zone, emotionally, socially, and intellectually.  While there is some initial discomfort the rewards in the end for all of us included new friendships, new insights, new knowledge and new or renewed passion.  The best part of this course was that we were truly all students and instructors and this made the experience that much richer.  Kudos to Karen and Boomer for creating a safe, nurturing environment for this all to happen in!
I loved my time on Hornby but I was ready to head home after the four days.  For me, one of the best parts of new experiences is sharing them with my husband.  I was so excited to show him my pictures and talk to him about the people I met and the things I had learned, about photography and about myself.
For all of you out there contemplating stepping out of your comfort zone, I highly recommend it!  Your life will be richer for having stretched yourself!  To end - one of my favourite pictures from the week:




  1. Hi Roxanne, Thanks so much for sharing this with us. I shared many of the same fears as you. It truly was an amazing week. I love your photos. I hope we meet again someday.

  2. It sounds like a wonderful week, and I can completely relate to the initial feelings you had about attending the course and relaxed fully as I read about how much you enjoyed it!