Click Away…. (Post 1)

Look at me… about to get super wordy again.  Two blog posts in a row!! How do I sum up my 5 day experience at Click Away? It’s taken me a week to fully think through this experience and put it into words.  Finally, after years of growing, learning and working with the amazing women of Clickin Moms I came to meet the very same girls that I interact with on a daily basis.  We’ve shared more than photography – we share our lives and this forum is a safe place… a haven.  I was a bundle of nerves.  Leaving my babies in their first few weeks of school, handing my responsibilities over to, luckily, trusting and loving grandparents.  My husband was so very busy at work and was only able to help take on the chauffeuring, grooming, loving and feeding responsibilities sparatically.  To say I’m thankful for a family that will allow me to go off on an adventure with the peace of mind that the kids are ok, is an understatement.

So I show up at Click Away and immediately, I mean IMMEDIATELY begin hugging people like we have met a million times in the past.  There’s simply a warm love between us that required zero ‘warming-up’.  It was a run and hug type of event that lasted through the entire five days in Salt Lake City.  I would eye someone that I ‘knew’ from across the room only to RUN and hug like long lost friends.  Multiple times per day.  I worked the registration desk – voluntarily – we had ‘staffing’ times, but when I was free I hurried to that desk as my own sort of mecca to chat, talk, interact and connect.  Connect I did.  I came home with new friends.  Most everyone was enormously friendly and opening.  I ate dinner with a new group of ladies every single evening and laughed until my sides hurt each evening.  I was even whisked away on a college-esque adventure the last evening.

Here are a couple of iPhone shots…

I was also pushed.  Pushed out of my comfort zone, nudged, thrown… if you will.  I’m a teacher by nature, I’m comfortable speaking in front of people – but filming me… with visual proof to remember my every move… yikes.  I’m not going to lie I almost didn’t leave my hotel room on Thursday morning for the body wrenching fear I was experiencing.  The filming was coming and what if I have no idea what I’m doing…. what if I fall… what if no one shows… what if… what if… what the flip if…. I was scared.  I picked myself up – got dressed and headed out the door.  I did it.  I did not let my deep seated fear hold me back (with a few phone calls to my husband and mom in between).

Here are some images from my filmed sessions, “When the Golden Hour Isn’t Practical“.  (This is available for purchasing and watching by clicking the link!) We shot around the convention center  starting at 1:45pm in the afternoon.  Finding light that will work in mid-day sun is a challenge, for sure!  In true Melissa fashion, I was so busy chatting with the 50 participants following me around about the light that in some shots I, ahem, didn’t watch or warn my subjects that I was taking a shot all of the time ;).  My mind wasn’t 100% behind the camera like it is at a regular shoot (without an audience!) – my nerves wore off quickly, but my head was focused on the filming and the participants.  It was quite the juggling act.  I’m going to show all of these images with a brief explanation of what my ‘goal’ was with the light… but know these are far from ‘perfect’ or ideal;)

Below is an example of when I needed my stool that I always have… I would have been more above them and shooting down avoiding any bright light.  This is what I got while making it work at 5 feet 1 inches tall;)

Ordinarily, there wouldn’t be 50 people in the reflection!!!

This shot, below, ended up as a happy accident.  Behind them is a wall – and I was showing how it wouldn’t work because their skin is so much darker than the wall.  Turns out, it acted much more like a bright window and I was able to completely blow out the background, isolating them!

I spy a member of the film crew!

Here is another example of a shot that I desperately needed my stool to get up above them and cut out the bright spots behind when using this small patch of light!

One of the big lessons I learned is that while I’m a photographer… I’m so much more of a ‘connector’.  I had a hard time shooting throughout this whole trip.  At first, I was so sad I wasn’t coming up with amazing images of the locations and people in the evening, during the golden hour, etc.  However, when I thought further, I was having an amazing time connecting, chatting, LAUGHING.  I photograph to show connections between people, but only when I am quiet and an observer.  I didn’t want to observe here, I wanted to connect.  And connect I did.  I made a LOT of time to take some posed selfies with amazing women!

I went on a selfie rampage during my ‘connecting’ and forced myself to take some shot with just some of the amazing women I had the opportunity to meet and chat with!

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