I really must get myself in the habit of posting more. I usually have grand ideas in my mind about blog posts, tutorials, features on friends and inspiring artists and then…..life happens and I end up going months without even typing a word! Summer 2012 has been an amazing adventure filled with photography trips, excellent friends, and the occasional nap.

Two weekends ago I travelled by bus across British Columbia to Vancouver to meet up with a small group of fellow friends and photographers.

I can’t say enough how much these opportunities mean to me and how much I get from working in such a creative environment. Being able to wake up and be around a group of friends who understand the same things I do and who see the world in a similar light is such a wonderful feeling and fills the air with such a strong creative energy.

When I arrived in Vancouver, I was welcomed literally with open arms and it was a reunion of sorts as there were a few familiar faces from the Midwest Meetup that I was at in Indiana in June, but the beautiful part of this group was that even though I just met some of the other photographers, I felt as though I had known for my whole life.

photos by Grace Adams

Within a few hours (and a few calls to Greyhound to find my missing luggage) we had set off  into the nearby mountains to Golden Ears Provincial Park to visit Alouette Lake.  After just a short drive we found ourselves in the dense rainforest of the west coast and I felt instantly dwarfed by the size of the trees and ferns growing up and up and up. The lake was beautiful and reminded me of the mountain lakes here at home in the Rockies. We swam for a short while before deciding to head up to an amazing waterfall for some photography time.

If you’ve ever gone on any sort of walk or hike with a group of photographers, you’ll know that you must budget at least twice the time you think it will take. We stopped at every big tree stump (I climbed inside more than a couple and I think some of them were bigger than my apartment) and at every interesting spot in the river. The waterfall was a beautiful vision (although slightly marred by the presence of some “naturalists” enjoying the water above the falls). Within minutes we had all scrambled on top of boulders, logs and into the water to shoot photos, donning dresses and cloaks and vintage jackets. We stayed longer than we thought we would and made our way back to lake for dinner and music.

The second day was off to a lazy start and we took our time organizing ourselves. A small group of us went to a nearby forest to shoot some photos before heading back to Lizzy’s house to gather up the rest of our gang and head down to downtown Vancouver. After a highly entertaining bus ride that involved a slight hit and run by the bus driver we finally made it downtown and wandered our way through the streets and then through a random chinese street festival. Our purpose for this little trip was to see an outdoor concert by Fun. and after a few small detours we finally found ourselves near the front of the crowd, enjoying the sun and song near the ocean.

Dinner, laughs, walking downtown, more laughs, street photography, even more laughs, and we finally decided to call it a night (the girls headed home while the guys stayed back for a few refreshments).

photo by Whitney Justesen

Sunday had started out being our “laid back and do nothing day” but it quickly turned into a “let’s go thrift store shopping and then shoot photos in the forest!” day. We piled back into vans and headed to Value Village to stock up on  vintage clothes and props and then back to the woods to shoot all the ideas we had floating around in our minds.

photo by Emerald Shatto

I felt such a surge of creative energy being amongst the trees and my amazing and talented friends. I would finish one photo shoot and almost immediately start another with a different person and a different idea, it was amazing!  After we had all finished up our shots we headed back for a big family dinner and hung out with everyone for a few more hours. We decided to drive out to try to catch the meteor shower and while we may not have had many shooting stars, it was a magical night filled with song and friendship.

This photography gathering was, like the one in Indiana, such a powerful force in my own creative mind. I felt inspired in new ways, to shoot new types of photos and to try new things without fearing whether I would fail or succeed at them. I fall back in love with photography when I’m surrounded by people who love it and want to share it with the world and I can’t wait until I can once again feel that creative energy, its powerful stuff.


here’s a list of all the photographers that were there:
 Rob Woodcox
Whitney Justesen
Peter Jamus
Lizzy Gadd
Esther Gadd

Emerald Shatto
Casey Maxwell
Gurbir Grewal
Grace (and Austin) Adams
Sarah Rush
Dannielle Brooks
Jarred Kassis

You can also see the photos created at the meetup in our flickr group here: