From time to time it is great to know you've made someone happy.
When Scott Howard and I started the Black Hills Photo Shootout we hoped photographers would enjoy the experience. Having it lead to long-term friendships among participants and expand beyond the borders of South Dakota were not really in our thoughts at the time.
Three-time participant Eva Bareis sent a thank you email last week and I think it echoes some of the sentiments of the organizers, instructors and participants of the event. Here is part of what she said -
I had sisters from 3 different states fly in for the first shootout, and I think we may have been the first to register! We had so much fun and learned tons as we were all fairly new to photography. Poor Steve Babbitt had us in 2 sessions, and patiently handled our barrage of questions and constant giggling. We were so inspired by the first shootout, that we have met at each of our homes for a weekend of shooting each year since. We've met in Tucson, AZ, Missoula, MT and are meeting in Portland, OR in June. We're trying to decide if the next get together will be at the SD shootout or the upcoming (I hope) Florida Shootout - maybe both.
My daughter and I have attended all of the shootouts. I can't tell you how they have helped us grow as photographers. From learning the ins and outs of our cameras, how to read histograms, how to use a polarizer, composition, and techniques for special situations like waterfalls and silhouettes- they have all helped us take better pictures.
Current Shootout organizers Jason and Nicole Hahn and Les Voorhis have done a wonderful job taking over the event and are indeed planning to expand to a Florida Shootout in the spring of 2014. Eva was also the grand prize winner in the Shootout Photo Contest held after the 2012 event, so her comments about learning over the last three years are not idle talk.
If you are interested in one of the best valued photo workshop weekends in the country, check out www.thephotoshootout.com.
Thanks Eva and everyone else who has participated in the Shootout. May it continue to grow and provide inspiration for photographers in the future.