I am a bit behind the ball with this blog post, ( its turned into more of a book lol) ... the truth is I do not even know where to start with my experiences at After Dark Dallas. I honestly have to tell you it was absolutely the most amazing photographic experience of my life. Those who know my "story" know how photography gave me back something in my life I though I had lost forever, my creativity, and through photography I found my loving husband, Robert. What you may not know is that through photography, and thanks to AD Dallas, I have gained a confidence in my self that I have struggled with since college. I was a classically trained musician who had such overwhelming stage freight that I literally could not perform by my self on stage. In an ensemble, I am rock solid, you put me out there solo and my knees go weak and literally I am physically ill. It was so bad that I changed my major and totally walked away from music and all things creative. When I received the email asking to be a mentor at AD Dallas, and after I figured out it was not a joke, I realized that I would be teaching...what... me in front of a group... my nerves when into overdrive and I was suddenly 19 again and all the fear of "performance" were right back there. I had decided to pass on the offer then my husband grabbed my hand, looked me in the eye and said you can do this. I took a deep breath and said only if you do it with me. You see he is the educator of our family and really good at it, I was just part of the ensemble, he was the conductor (nice music reference huh... lol ). I replied to the email and before I knew it, I was an official Mentor for AD Dallas. Before I even got to Dallas, I was staking out the other mentors... like Kevin Focht, Chuckie Arlund, Brian DeMint, Damon Tucci, Stephanie Zettl, Jordan Chan , Viki Taufer, and Julie Klaasmeyer. I started looking at the talent that was coming and yep started freaking out .... again! lol. There are truly some photographic Rock Stars there. I am not going to lie.. I WAS NERVOUS ... oh and did I mention that by the time we actually made it Dallas, my husband and I were both sick! (not because of nerves either...) I could go on for hours with the talent that was there, really (hours just look how long this blog post is) But I think I will just show some images from our Pods....
There were so many talented mentors and attendees there. Everyone was approachable and open to questions. It was a 3 day event filled with nothing but creativity. I can not thank Dave Junion enough for coming up with such an amazing idea. When I introduced myself and said thank you for having me as a mentor in Dallas, you gave me an assignment. You said now go and do something you never have done before. Dave, the entire mentoring/teaching experience was that for me! I do not have the words to tell you how truly grateful I am. I am still overwhelmed at how much I learned from everyone else there. My photography is nowhere on the level I want it to be but, I came home invigorated and my creative batteries are recharged and am ready to push my self and my photography and just bust the heck out of my box. It honestly took me about a week to really comprehend everything I experienced. I also found a confidence in my self that I did not even know I had and that I love sharing... even in front of groups.. who'd a thunk it!
If your have ever though about going to After Dark, stop thinking abut it and just do it. I promise it will change you and your photography for ever!