Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Click, Click, Boom

I spent a few days last week in the Outer Banks at the Click Blogger Retreat.

Going away for four days to such a beautiful place nourished my soul.  

One of the best parts was meeting some really cool women from all over the United States.  Most are professional bloggers with a love for photography.  Several of them make a living blogging (how awesome is that?!), and were open to sharing bits and pieces of what they've learned along the way with me.

These conversations sure got me thinking about the possibility of starting a second blog with a more specific focus. 

I also loved meeting a few of the speakers at the retreat such as Ali Edwards, Tracey Clark, and Me Ra Koh (pictured above).  I was impressed by their talent, but also their passion for their work, their willingness to take risks, and their openness to talking about the messy parts of their lives.

If you're a regular reader, you know I'm a huge fan of Brene Brown, who talks about the need for authenticity, vulnerability, and courage in our lives.  It's clear that Ali, Tracey, and Me Ra embrace and practice these qualities, which was super inspiring to me. 

During the retreat, I was working on being courageous, authentic, and vulnerable.  As you probably remember from this post, I traveled out to the retreat all. by. myself.  For some, it might not have been a big deal, but for me, it was HUGE.

I practiced honoring the introvert in me (who likes people--especially in small groups--but needs some down time to recharge), while also challenging myself to share pieces of my life and forge connections with fellow Clickers. 

Here's a look at a few of my favorite photos from the retreat.    

Somewhere between Sacramento and San Diego.  From San Diego, I flew to Nashville, and then on to Norfolk.  A big thanks to Southwest Airlines for sponsoring the retreat!  Debbie Russo of Island Limo drove us out to the Outer Banks; it was fun to chat with her en route about her life experiences.

All of the Click attendees stayed in these two enormous houses.  I shared a room on the first floor of the yellow house with Rebecca Parsons.  

During the first 24 hours, we experienced some crazy weather.  Heavy rain, wind, lightning, and thunder.  At about 6:00 am on Thursday morning, there was a huge flash of lightning and a big BOOM (the loudest boom I've ever heard, which may have had to do with the fact that our windows were open), and we lost power in both houses.  I haven't been that scared in a long time.  Many of us actually thought the yellow house had been hit by a bomb, but it turns out that the lightning hit the transformer box nearby.

At breakfast that morning, I snapped the above shot from the third floor balcony.

Afterward, I ran down to the beach (just minutes from the house) and took a few shots of the wild surf, the birds, the grasses, the wooden fences, and the sand.

The lovely Vivienne Gucwa of, a fantastic photographer who captures New York beautifully, was also down at the beach shooting away. Go check out her photography; you will be amazed!

Later that night, I shot this photo of the houses and pools from the gazebo.  I set my camera up on the railing, turned the self-timer on, and hit the shutter release button.  This was a one second exposure, which is why a few of the people in the photo are blurry.    

The following day, I attended the wild horses excursion through Wild Horse Adventure Tours in Corolla.  Butch, our driver and tour guide, was awesome!  He got us as close as possible to the horses (as is legally allowed), and slowed down so we could take shots like this one.  Keep in mind, though, that I was shooting with my Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 lens.  I don't use it very often, but on this trip, it sure came in handy!  The two shots below were also taken with my big mama lens.   

I loved the colorful homes on the Outer Banks.  Christmas in October, anyone? 

During the 4x4 ride, I sat next to Kelley Miller, Senior Photo Editor for National Geographic Kids magazine.  As some of you know, I enjoy writing articles for kids' magazines and just recently sold my first piece to Boys' Quest magazine.  It was fun to chat with Kelley about writing for kids, how she locates original and creative ideas, and what she loves most about her job. 

Another shot from the wild horses excursion.  Although we didn't see any horses on the beach, there were cars and trucks--something that's quite foreign to me being from Northern California--and a few fishermen.

I made a couple of short trips down to the beach by myself, just to walk in the sand, breathe in the ocean air, and enjoy the peaceful sound of the waves crashing onto the shore.  Talk about relaxing!

I definitely want to visit the Outer Banks again someday with my little family.   

On Friday night, Avery hosted an off-the-hook carnival-themed closing party at the yellow house.    The food was delicious; the fresh crab and hush puppies were my favorites.  After dinner, I roasted marshmallows and played games (ring toss, milk bottle toss, and rubber duck races) with a few new friends.  

Hats off to the team for hosting such an amazing retreat!  And thanks to all of the generous sponsors who absolutely spoiled us.

Lastly, I'm truly grateful to my husband for taking care of our son and doggies, so I could enjoy this fun getaway.       

P.S. To view my iPhone photos from the retreat, check out Instagram (jharless) or search #clickretreat to see photos taken by other attendees.


Mindy said...

I'm glad you had such a wonderful time, your photos are amazing! Looking forward to hearing more about the retreat in person this weekend. :)

Tina said...

What a treat! Gorgeous place!
So happy you got to go!

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