#kalaloch2015 | Kalaloch Photography Retreat

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"Enter as strangers, leave as friends"

When my friend (and talented photographer!) Felicia Chang first asked me if I would be willing to host a photography retreat at my home in the wild Olympic National Park of Washington state, I wasn't sure if it would work out. My house is small and modest at best. My home is in the middle of the rainiest area of the country, and January is one of our rainiest months. It's quite a trek from the nearest airport, and to say its remote and secluded here is an understatement. But... it's also kind of idea for a retreat because of those things. We wanted to gather a group of women together for a weekend of community, inspiration, and fun, and it turns out, Kalaloch is a pretty awesome spot for just that.

But still... I was nervous. What if my home wasn't welcoming enough? What if it rained the entire weekend? What if they all got here, and we had nothing to talk about? What if they met me, and I them, and we realized that some relationships are best left online?

Within minutes of meeting each of these ladies, every one of those fears was laid to rest. I couldn't have asked for a kinder, warmer, funnier group of woman to descend on my home and family for the weekend. Some of them I have known online for years, others were truly strangers, but every one of them left my home on Monday as a friend.

We spent the weekend eating lots of good food, drinking wine, doing a boudoir shoot out, some street and landscape photography in La Push, freelensing lessons, macro practice, calligraphy and knitting lessons, and lots of discussions about the craft that we each pursue so passionately, that binds us on a level that is intimate at once. When you are in love with the same things, it's easy to fall in love with each other.

I feel so blessed to have meet each of these women in person, and it cements my belief that while the online photography community I am apart of is deeply important to me, having the chance to meet in person is so important.

The one thing I asked of everyone was that each person pick something that they could share or help out with. So as a result - this weekend was like getting to pick the brain of 10 different talented women who are all good at different things! Alice lead a boudoir shoot out and taught us calligraphy, Felicia taught freelensing, Carrie organized a portfolio walk, Cat talked to us about birth and flash, and cooked incredible vegan dinners, Dana brought voodoo donuts and her jewelry collection, Laura brought a delicious dessert and didn't mind in the slightest when my children defended on her and occupied her lap for most of the weekend, Jana taught us about food photography, Nicole helped us learn about iPhoneography, and Davina helped us see landscapes better - and everyone was all around kind and so generous with their knowledge!

2015-02-07_00012015-02-07_0002I hope that this is the first of many photography meet ups and retreats!

To see my friend Davina's take on the weekend, click through the blog circle here!

Kate Densmore5 Comments