Monday, May 16, 2011

5/12/2011 lions and tigers and BEARS oh my!

Advice from the RMSP 2011 FB Page from Montana Native Kinsey Chamberlin:
"In Montana you get all kinds of weather!! The joke here is if you don't like the weather, wait 10 min. This summer you can expect an average of 80F. So you'll want to pack mostly warm weather clothes, but we will be spending a lot of time outdoors in the evening (sunsets here are amazing in the mountains) so you'll want to pack for cooler nights.  If you plan on staying for the whole course, until the end of October, I would pack for some cold days (not long underwear days, but cold.) I will be packing for all weather: rain, cold mountain hikes, and of course lots of shorts! I find the best way to fair weather changes here is to layer clothing and always keep a sweater and pants nearby! As far as clothes go that is the best I can tell you, however more important to surviving here in the summer is what you carry, not what you wear. In short don't forget your bug spray or your bear mace! I hear our first lecture will be about bears, which is really important here, especially spending so much time outdoors. I for one worry about bears more than anything.  I get really into my camera and forget to look around, however my dog is a valuable alarm system and has saved my butt a couple of times.  I hope that helps with your questions.  See ya soon!"
Dorothy I don't think we're in Kansas anymore!  
Did she say 'bear mace'?  First of all, I'm pretty sure you can't buy 'bear mace' in Moundsville West Virginia and I certainly don't have a can of that just laying around!  Second of all, and probably most important, why am I going to need bear mace!!?   I had no idea that there may be a possibility that I could potentially be close enough to a bear in the wild where bear mace would be my weapon of choice!  Call me crazy, but it never occurred to me (until now that is) that I would need a survival guide for the wilderness of Montana.  I'm not exactly sure what you would classify me as, I'm not a girly girl, but I'm not Miss Outdoor's either!  Guess I'll find out when I get there!
More advice from the RMSP 2011 FB Page, this time from Leah Manzari:
"Just use common sense - be aware of your surroundings, make noise, hike in groups of 3 or more, carry bear spray at all times - and you should have nothing to worry about with the bears!" 
[My thoughts: that seems reassuring, thanks Leah, but then she continues...] 
"But, every year, people do have deadly encounters up here. If you want to get your pants scared off, look for a copy of Night of the Grizzly."
[um no thanks...]

5/16/2011 Advice I Don't Want to Foget!

From Kristi Miller 2010 graduate of RMSP

I'm probably forgetting something, but here are a few things to share:
  • Rest up before SI starts. : ) You won't want to miss anything for more sleep!  Most of you will need the support of caffeine to make it thru...
  • Attend the optional bear safety lecture
  • If you get cold easily, bring a fleece or sweater (jumper for England) to class even though it is summer - a couple of the rooms tended to be on the cold side for us
  • Bring your hiking boots & swimsuit! (Not necessarily to be worn at the same time, but hey, anything goes!  I saw an older guy walking around in a kilt all summer which I didn't expect in Missoula.)
  • Most of us enjoy being behind the camera, NOT in front of it. I think someone else (Ben?) already mentioned this, but it will make your life easier if you just get over it now because you WILL be photographed, one way or another. It's impossible to escape so many students constantly carrying cameras and, between projects and studio, you'll need each other to model. Embrace it, try to learn from being on the other side of the lens, and once it is over, you'll be glad to have the photos to remember the experiences and people!  Plus, if you cooperate, you can get a great, professional head shot for free!  : )  I treasure the images from our BBQs, bowling, happy hours, rafting, parties, hiking, camping, birthday dinners, group shoots, dancing, and First Fridays as much as my images from assignments and projects. I thought I took a lot, but now wish I'd taken even more.
  • Take a lot of notes - I have a good memory, but there was no way I could retain everything at such a fast pace and with little sleep.  If you can, please teach me how.
  • Don't get discouraged if you feel behind some of your classmates.  Everyone comes in with different amounts of knowledge and experience and learns at a different pace.  I'm a recovering perfectionist and one of my assignments was an EPIC failure.  Yes, I felt embarrassed, but I realized I learned a lot more from the failure than from some of the successes.  Some of the information may not "click" until a few months later and that's okay.  Do your best, have fun, don't beat yourself up, try to absorb it all (and take notes), have fun, don't stress too much, and have fun!!!! 
  • Attend the optional things if you can - don't pass up an opportunity to learn everything possible!
  • If you're used to a really hot/humid summer (I'm especially thinking of you, Shreveport), don't forget to bring a few cool weather clothes. We had a few 90F plus/32C plus days, but a lot of days in the 50-75F/10-24C range with low humidity which is a cold summer for me!  And I endured a driving sleet storm in Glacier National Park in early September! A good windbreaker/waterproof jacket is a real plus too.
  • Missoula is really outdoorsy and casual so you won't need a lot of dressy clothes.  That said, if you want to dress up, anything does go.  You could probably wear a formal gown everyday without a lot of attention (for the girls anyway) or the aforementioned kilt.  
  • Most students dressed up a little for graduation, such as casual dresses for the girls, but there were no requirements or suggested dress code.  I also preferred to look a little more professional than my normal tshirt & shorts or jeans when we had photographers come in for lectures (never know where work/mentoring opportunities might arise and, as the saying goes, you never do get a 2nd chance to make a 1st impression!), but that's just me!
  • If you have any clothes that are "western-y" and a cowboy hat or boots, bring them if you can.  There will be opportunities to attend rodeos (fantastic photo op, you have to go to at least one!) and it is fun to (try) to look the part. Of course, there are places to buy stuff too.
Things I love about Missoula (and hopefully you will too):
  • Fleece & cowboy boots go with everything
  • You can raft down the Clark Fork River, starting a few miles outside of Missoula and get out by the Holiday Inn downtown (the water is cold, wait until it isn't too high and a HOT day)
  • TONS of stuff going on in the summer
  • Lack of humidity - YES!
  • Plenty of ice cream & pizza options
  • Doc's Sandwich Shop (& cookies)
  • Very friendly people
  • Very bike-friendly - I'd never seen so many things (kayaks, groceries, children, dogs, etc.) being transported behind bikes!
  • Very pet-friendly
  • Very photography-friendly
  • RMSP!
  •    Kristi Miller 2010 graduate of RMSP

Thursday, May 5, 2011

5/2/2011: Encouragement from the RMSP CTBB

5/2/11: Encouragement from the RMSP CTBB

I had originally edited this post before sending out my mass email about my blog but I see that for some reason it did not update...hummm?   I'm still very green when it comes to this blogging thing!  The update was about why I needed "encouragement" from the RMSP CTBB in the first place.  A few days before this post Mark and I were talking about how close my upcoming trip to MT was.  All of a sudden it hit me and the fact that I'm leaving became very real!  I felt the tears coming and then I just lost it!  Poor Mark was so confused.  He didn't know what to do.  He said, "but I thought you were excited..."  Poor guy!  They just don't understand the emotional roller coaster that us women ride on a daily basis!  I can laugh about it now but at the time it was very upsetting!  I still feel that fear rise up inside me from time to time but posts  on the Rocky Mountain School of Photography Career Training Bulletin Board (what a mouth full, hence the abbreviation RMSP CTBB) like the one below from Mary Brunst help to reassure me whenever the panic grows!

FROM: Mary Brunst 2011 Assistant 2010 Graduate
Hello 2011 Career Training students! I cannot believe how fast one year can go! As a 2010 SI, Pro Studies and AI graduate, I remember this time last year being exactly in your shoes. Not unlike many of you and many past RMSP students, I had spent years pouring over the catalog and looking into several photography schools before heading to Missoula last May. What an incredible, fun-filled, highly educational summer 2010 was for me, and I know 2011 will be the same for you! So I know I’m going to sound like a broken record of the endless and positive things that you have already heard in making your decision to attend, but they are true, so here goes..... Get ready for one of the most amazing summers of your life! It is intense, it is work, but it is learning what you love... so rest up my new friends! You are about to embark on an adventure, one that will show you the world through a whole new lens. You will be surrounded by people who share your passions and spark your creativity. So get ready, come with an open mind and your shutter finger ready to be put to work! As with everything it is what you put into it, so come prepared for the exciting journey that is in front of you! Its going to be great, and I am humbled to be a part of it. I am returning this summer as a teaching assistant and am greatly looking forward to being back in the RMSP environment, as well as being a small part in your photography journey.

4/7/2011 The Decision

I read that keeping a blog about my upcoming photographic journey to Missoula Montana would be a good idea.  My thinking is that it will give me something to refer back to during those times when I ask myself "what have I done!" and then I'll blog about those times too and hopefully look back at them and think to myself: "what was I so worried about?"  So feel free to read along but be forewarned that I'm no writer and I'm certainly no blogger! It's just me, jotting down a few lines because I hope it will prove to be a beneficial and insightful experience for myself.

4/7/11 The Decision:
I've been sitting here reading the course offerings and descriptions in the RMSP catalog for the millionth time.  Each time I find myself more and more confident in my decision to embrace the fear & excitement that goes along with my choice to attend RMSP.   For me, the decision to attend RMSP was a life altering decision and not one that came easy.  I have been looking at RMSP for almost 4 years now.  I remember the time frame because Mark and I had just started dating when I first discovered RMSP.  I chose not to attend at that time because, well let's be honest, who of you wants to take a 5 month sabbatical from a brand new relationship? I didn't, and thank goodness I didn't!  Instead, I followed my heart and now Mark and I are married.  If not for his support and constant reassurance I'm not sure I'd be on this path to RMSP today.  As I said, the decision merely to attend has been life altering in itself, I can only imagine the impact that the actual program will have on my life.  In making the decision to go I had to take into account that fact that for 5 months I will be leaving my husband, his wonderful son Justin who I have come to regard as my own, my family, my friends, and my job (taking us from a two income household to a one income household).  I will be missing pivotal events in the live's of my friends and family, some of whom are getting married or having their first or second child, all of which I will not be there for.  So, this decision comes with heavy expenses but the costs have been measured and I am confident that the end result will be an unparalleled reward.

And that is my first attempt at blogging!!
I suppose when I feel chatty I will attempt to blog again!